Good Morning Forest Update Subscribers,


Happiest of New Years to all of you!


I hope everyone had (is having) a lovely winter break. Over my break I learned a valuable forestry lesson. Years ago, at my request, my husband (grudgingly) planted a blue spruce seedling for me to one day use as a Christmas tree. He did this grudgingly because he said they were miserable and spiteful things. Which made me insist on the planting.


The seedling grew extremely well and back in December it was close to 15’ tall. I decided harvest time had arrived. Our house is small, so my husband cut off the top 4 feet to use as our tree. The foliage was deep blue, the branches were numerous and sturdy, the smell was divine, and it barely cast any needles.


But those needles – whoa! They ARE miserable and spiteful things. I had to don thick leather gloves to decorate. It was so painful, after the holiday I seriously considered just throwing the whole thing away, ornaments and all. So I’m putting this in writing for all to see…my husband was right. But we will still probably plant more blue spruce seedlings because, well, other than being painful, it was a good tree.


Speaking of looking good, the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program is rolling out an updated look this year, starting with this e-newsletter and the printed Virginia Forest Landowner Update. I hope it will be easier to read and print. Feedback is welcome.


The Winter 2023 edition of the Virginia Forest Landowner Update newsletter is arriving in mailboxes this month. In this edition:


So You Bought Some Land. Now What?

By Neil Clark, Virginia Cooperative Extension


So I bought some woods. Now what? In the most general sense, this is Extension forestry’s most frequently asked question. Kind of along the lines of “Well, I live in a human body, so I guess I should find out what I need to do to maintain it, enhance it, and make it work for me.” And to be frank, the answer can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. Both organisms, your body and the woods, are carefully designed and, for the most part, can function reasonably well without too much effort. But just as diet and exercise choices can optimize the condition of your body, good management practices can optimize the condition of your woods. Read more.


You Ain’t from Around Here! Nonnative Invasive of the Quarter: Nine-banded Armadillo.

By Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech

I typically experience despair when there is a sighting of a new nonnative invasive species in Virginia. But, when I heard that a nine-banded armadillo was spotted in Christiansburg on New Year’s Day 2022, I squealed with delight. This oddball animal brings back many fond memories of my time working in the deep south. Turns out, though, this was not the first nine-banded armadillo sighting in Montgomery County. That occurred in 1932 about five miles from my home. Since then, there have been sporadic sighting in southwest and central Virginia of what are assumed to be rogue males. This means there may not be a breeding population here – yet. Read more.


Events Calendar


Featured Events


Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

  1. Fifteen Minutes in the Forest videos are shown every other Friday at 12:15 on Facebook or YouTube Premier
  2. Jan. 6 – So You Bought Some Land
  3. Jan. 20 – Charcoal Furnaces & Iron Ore
  4. Feb. 3 – Boundary Lines
  5. Feb. 17 – Growing Pecan Trees
  6. March 3 – Forest Microhabitats
  7. March 17 – Virginia’s Smallest Carnivore
  8. March 31 – Open mic – ask us anything
  9. Watch archived on our YouTube Channel


Landowner Woods & Wildlife Conferences

Over 10 million acres of Virginia’s woods are privately owned.  The Woods & Wildlife Conferences provide information, tools, and personal contacts to help private woodland owners keep their woods, and the wildlife that live in them, healthy and productive.  A wide variety of topics are offered to appeal to owners of both small and large tracts, and both new and experienced owners.

  1. Feb. 11
    1. Wytheville Meeting Center, Wytheville
    2. Agenda
  2. Feb. 25
    1. Daniel Technology Center, Culpeper
    2. Agenda
  3. $55/person; $90/couple (includes breakfast and lunch)
  4. Register online
  5. Become a sponsor


Forest Health Professionals Conference

Learn about emerging threats to forest health.

  1. February 13-14
  2. Blacksburg
  3. Agenda
  4. Register online


Introduction to Forest Carbon Markets

Forest carbon markets are expanding rapidly in the commonwealth. If you are a forester, landowner, county leader, or just interested in the topic, this Introduction to Forest Carbon Markets Conference may be for you. At this conference, you will: Learn how forest carbon markets work; Hear about opportunities for private woodland owners to participate; Be introduced to a decision-making tool that will help determine which, if any, carbon programs are suitable for your land and management goals; Hear from woodland owner with experience participating in carbon markets.

  1. March 3, 2023
  2. Brightpoint Community College, Chester
  3. Agenda
  4. $55/person; $90/couple (includes breakfast and lunch)
  5. $50/household virtual option
  6. Register online

Landowner Retreats

Developed for those new to actively managing their woods, the Retreats combine classroom, field trip, and hands-on activities to teach concepts of sustainable woodland management.


  1. March 24-25
  2. Appomattox
  3. Individual, No Lodging – $65
  4. Couple, No Lodging – $110
  5. Individual, Thurs. & Fri. Lodging – $105
  6. Couple, Thurs. & Fri. Lodging – $190
  7. Agenda
  8. Register online


  1. May 19-20
  2. Galax

Southeast – Advanced

  1. September 8-9
  2. Providence Forge

Agendas and registration available 6 weeks prior to Retreats

Virginia Forestry Summit

Join natural resources professionals and landowners for this annual education event.

  1. image004.jpgApril 26-28
  2. Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg
  3. Agenda and registration in February

Hope to see you all in 2023!


VFLEP Coordinator

228 Cheatham Hall 0324

Blacksburg, VA 24061



This e-newsletter is posted on-line at: