A West Virginia University professor recently developed an updated version of theTrees of West Virginiabook that will likely be distributed across the Mountain State.

The newly revised book, made possible with a $15,000 grant from the state Division of Forestry, contains 70-plus of the most popular trees found in the state, complete with illustrations, tree facts and details about where the species can be found.

Professor of Forestry Ray Hicks, his son, Tim, and graduate students Benktesh Sharma of Nepal and Nathan Beane of Mount Morris, Pa., helped to put the publication together, along with illustrator Bruce Cunningham of Texas. Cunningham is one of the most prominent forestry illustrators in the country, according to Hicks.

Because the previous copy, some 10-15 years old, is no longer being printed, Hicks said it was time for West Virginiaknown for its green, lush foreststo have afirst-class book.

Its a pretty significant publication,he said.All of the states in the country have �€~Trees ofbooks describing their species of trees, and since West Virginia is so heavily forested, we believed that we needed a newer version of the book.

Hicks wrote a similar book of trees for the western gulf region while in Texas in the 1970s, so the group used the same format of that publication for species descriptions. Sharma pulled the range maps for tree species off the Internet and inserted them into the format for the new book. Beane, a dendrology (the study of trees) buff, helped to put the collection of trees together, and Hicksson formatted and edited the pages.

The books first run included 5,000 copies. One-thousand copies and a compact disc with the information were given to the state as part of the grant contract. Other copies have gone to county foresters and will be distributed.

In addition, Hicks plans to use the publication in his classes this fall at WVU .