The National Association of University Forest Resource Programs and the National Woodland Owners Association awarded the 2006 Family Forests Education Award to West Virginia Universitys Appalachian Hardwood Center (AHC) at the organizations annual meeting Oct. 24.

The award recognizes university programs that benefit non-industrial private forest landowners. Criteria for selecting the AHC education program included program quality, outcomes, impacts and number of faculty involved.

Faculty and staff involved in the program include Shawn Grushecky, Dave McGill, Bill Grafton, Ben Spong, Robin Maille, Dan Magill and Steve Harouff from the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences and WVU Extension. In addition, division faculty members are Kathryn Arano, Chad Pierskalla and Dave Smaldone. In addition, graduate students Brian Jennings, Adam Riley, Dave McCann, Bill Eck, Dheeraj Nelli and Matt Provencher collaborated on research projects benefiting forest landowners.

The AHC forest stewardship program began in 2001.

Initially the program included tours of exemplary stewardship properties for landowners and development of a forest stewardship Web site,said Dave McGill, extension specialistforest resource management.

This was followed by applied research on a variety of topics including the effectiveness of the forest stewardship program in West Virginia, landowner satisfaction with timber harvesting, characteristics of forest roads on stewardship and non-stewardship properties, and the role of landowners in promoting forest heritage and in growing non-timber forest products.

The AHC has hosted a wide variety of regional workshops for the Woodland Owners Association of West Virginia, Master Woodland Owners and Forest Stewardship Program landowners. The workshops covered topics such as using a portable sawmill, invasive species control, forest taxation and estate planning, and growth and marketing of non-timber forest products. Recently staff members have been involved in a forest stewardship mapping project designed to develop an historic record database, which can be used to monitor the impact of forest stewardship in West Virginia.

The 2005-2006 AHC program included tours of exemplary stewardship properties, a quarterly newsletter for non-industrial private forest landowners, and a variety of extension bulletins designed to address significant issues for landowners including selecting a forester, best management practices for logging, recognizing and combating invasive species and marketing timber.

AHC forest stewardship programs are made possible through financial support from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture, Research, and Education Program (NESARE) and the USDA Forest Service.

For more information about AHC Forest Stewardship Program activities, contact Robin Maille, 304-293-2941, ext. 2401, or by e-mail, robin.maille@mail.wvu.edu