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Two Upcoming Forestry Events In Highland County

This is Missy Moyers-Jarrells, with the Laurel Fork Sapsuckers Sugar Camp. I would like to tell you about two events we are having at our sugar camp. Friday, September the 13th, we are going to do a tree farm tour. We are celebrating, winning 2019 Outstanding Tree Farmer award. So we’re going to have a tour of our farm. We’re going to talk about sustainable wood lot and wildlife management practices. We’re going to talk a little bit about that early successional habitat and its importance to small game – songbirds, grouse, turkeys, all the way up to deer and bear.

We’re going to have natural resource professionals – Department of Forestry, NRCS – we’re gonna have a procurement forester from WestRock, and a forester from Speyside Bourbon stave mill. They’re going to be there to answer questions, and help you generate some ideas on how you can use some of these practices for your private land. They’re also going to have information available on cost-share opportunities.

During the tour, it’s going to be a three quarter of a mile walking trail. So make sure that you wear your hiking boots and dress appropriately. After the tour, we’re going to celebrate, and we’re going to have a catered dinner. During the dinner, members from the Virginia Tree Farm will be present, and they will talk about the importance of the Tree Farm program, and how it can help private landowners. Part of the tour is really meant to showcase the benefits of private land management, and the opportunities that are available to private landowners, so that they can apply these practices to their own properties as well.

The tour will begin at 2:00 – we ask any attendee that will be coming to show up around 1:30. And the tour will last for a couple hours and then afterwards, dinner will be served at 6:00.  You may register for this event online –  you can go to our website at www.laurelforksapsuckers.com,  or you can go to www.forestupdate.frec.vt.edu. We are asking that people register, we just need to get an idea of folks who will be at attending, so that we have enough food for the catered dinner that evening.

If you can’t make it out to visit with us for the tree farm tour, we also have an opportunity on Saturday, September 14th. This year we will be hosting our second maple workshop and a series of three that is sponsored by the ACER Assesses grant, as well as this year, sponsorship by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This year, we’re going to focus on forest management for increased sugar water volume and higher sugar content. We’re going to have Jamie Schuler from West Virginia University, who will be instructing this portion of the workshop. This is a great opportunity if you’re interested in leasing land, for a sugar maker, on how you can increase your sugar content. It’s also if you’re installing more taps, kind of take a look at your forest before you install that tubing. If you have an old stand that has not been performing well, it’s a great opportunity to take a look at those trees to increase your sugar content. We’re also going to learn how to manage and keep a diversified forest while you’re releasing their sugar maples. You don’t want to have just a sugar stand – we want to also be able to provide for wildlife within there too. During this portion, we’re going to take a look at the data that we’ve collected, from the two years of the ACER grant work on our farm.

The second part of the day will be spent with Les Ober, Ohio State University Extension. He’ll be talking more about grading regulations, proper clarity, and finishing syrup to the correct density, and detecting off flavors.

This year we have a new portion to our workshop, we’re going to have a dessert contest. We’re asking that participants bring in one of their favorite desserts made with maple syrup. During the dessert contest, the participants of the workshop will be voting for the winners of the dessert contest. The prizes this year include: Leader Evaporator has donated a one-handed 5/16th tubing tool; H2O Innovation has donated a 500 foot of 5/16th tubing; and CDL Maple has donated a hydrometer with cup.

To attend the workshop, there’s a $20 fee, which includes lunch and workshop materials. If you’re interested in attending, you can give me a call at 540-290-1676, or you may go on to our website, there’s more information there. And you can also send me an email at laurelforksapsuckers@yahoo.com.

Story By

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Scott Smith

Scott is the News Director for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan, and also is a member of the boards of the Highland-Bath Farm Bureau , Highland Chamber of Commerce and Highland Sheep and Wool Association. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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