Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pennsylvania Forestry Association and Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee Join Forces

John and Maureen Burnham,  co-chairs of the
 Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee.

The Pennsylvania Forestry Association (PFA) and the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee (PTFC) are excited to announce a renewed merger between their two organizations, focusing on exemplary forest stewardship in Penn’s Woods.  As they move ahead with an exciting implementation plan to consolidate the PFA and PTFC operations, PFA has become the new "administrative home" for the PTFC.

Each organization brings a long history of model forestry in the state to the table and each is part of the great conservation movement of working forests. 

The Pennsylvania Forestry Association is the oldest, statewide forestry organization in the nation.  Since 1887, it has advocated for careful stewardship of all wooded lands in the state, and it has been a driving force behind acquisition and wise management of our 2.2 million acres of state forests, the creation of our college level forestry schools, and the original Pennsylvania State Forestry Commission which has become today’s DCNR Bureau of Forestry. 

The national American Tree Farm System (ATFS) celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 2016; the first Pennsylvania Tree Farm was established in 1949.  The continued success of the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program is in large part because of the work private individuals have done to help family-owned forests continue to provide a home for wildlife, clean water that flows to our faucets, wood for homes, furniture and other goods, and much more.

While both Pennsylvania organizations are volunteer based and have invested time, energy and hard work in our forests, the work is not done. Our forests face many challenges: the threat of wildfire, spreading disease and invasives, changing climate and more. The Pennsylvania Forestry Association and Pennsylvania Tree Farm Committee are excited about this new opportunity to move the state’s Tree Farm program ahead, especially in concert with the new national American Tree Farm System initiative to accelerate the certification of Pennsylvania Tree Farms.

ATFS certification is internationally-recognized and meets strict third-party verification and auditing standards. ATFS-certified tree farms meet eight standards of sustainability and are managed for multiple purposes: water, wildlife, wood and recreation. With its new commitment to third-party certification, Pennsylvania joins the strong network of woodland owners who share the same core values of hard work, community responsibility and commitment to protecting America’s forest legacy. Family woodland owners with ATFS certified forestland provide multiple public benefits from clean air and water, wildlife habitat, to green jobs and forest products.

The two organizations welcome inquiries about all aspects of forest stewardship. All contacts by mail, phone or email regarding the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program should be directed to the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, 116 Pine Street, 5th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101,, 1-800-835-8065 or 717-234-2500. Help our forests make a measurable difference to all Pennsylvanians.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Announcing Workshops on Caring for Backyard Woods

Do you have woods in your backyard? Penn State research for Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry estimates that nearly half a million Pennsylvanians own a small patch of woodlands -- something less than ten acres in size. In fact, the average small ownership is about two acres. In sum these small patches add up to about a million or so acres, or about 10 percent, of our state’s privately held woodlands.

Anyone interested in improving their land or acreage for the benefit of humans, flora and fauna will not want to miss the Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas around Your Home series of workshops being offered across the state, see location details below.

The workshops are sponsored by The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: Forests for the Bay Program, Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania Forestry Association, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and ClearWater Conservancy.

The workshops are designed specifically (but not exclusively) for smaller landscapes. These small lots are a big deal. The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s landowners have less than 10 acres. This land, wooded or not, can provide benefits. By enhancing wooded areas or creating natural areas on your property, you can enjoy recreation, aesthetics, wildlife, improved water quality and reduced energy costs. Owners of even the smallest landscapes can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing simple stewardship practices.

The workshops introduce the manual “The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas around Your Home.” All participants will receive the full-color, 108-page manual - a $23 value! This self-directed book will guide you through the process of developing and implementing projects to enhance your land’s natural resources.

The workshops will take place at three different locations across the state this spring. At the workshops, participants will remain together in the morning and then choose their afternoon sessions based on interest.
Topics include:
·         Providing wildlife habitat
·         Tree identification
·         Tree planting and native landscaping
·         Woods and water
·         Forest ecology and soils 
·         Woodlot management techniques
·         Invasive plant identification/control
·         Getting youth outdoors
·         Maple syrup, mushrooms, and medicinal plants
·         Creating wildflower meadows
·         Landowner resources
·         …….and more

Cost is $35 per individual to attend (each includes manual, lunch and light morning refreshments). For more information and to register go to: or call the number listed for the individual session you are interested in attending.

Saturday, February 25. 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Wood in Your Backyard Workshop, Penn State University, Forest Resources Building, Room 112, University Park, PA. Cost is $35 per person – includes lunch and a Woods in Your Backyard manual. To register visit:  or contact 814-355-4897. Registration required by February 20.
Saturday, April 1. 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Wood in Your Backyard Workshop, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Lehman, PA. Cost is $35 per person – includes lunch and a Woods in Your Backyard manual. To register visit: For more information, contact Vinnie Cotrone,, 570-825-1701.
Saturday, April 8. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wood in Your Backyard Workshop, Penn State Beaver, SUB Lodge, Monaca, PA. Cost is $35 per person – includes lunch and a Woods in Your Backyard manual. To register visit: For more information, contact Brian Wolyniak,, 412-263-1000.