By Parker Jones
The New Jersey Woodland Stewards Program recently reached 100 participants as 17 volunteers completed this year’s annual training.
Forest ecology, wildlife ecology, forest management, and tree identification were some of the areas taught during the training.
Instruction was provided by professionals and educators from NJ Division of Parks and Forestry, Rutgers University, New Jersey Forestry Association (NJFA), the Society of American Foresters, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, NJ Audubon and the NY/NJ Trail Conference.
This one of a kind program highlights the importance of stewardship in maintaining private forests. With nearly 50 percent of New Jersey’s forests privately owned, stewardship training like that which this course provides is crucial for the health and preservation of New Jersey’s forests.
"Unfortunately, [privately owned forestland] is under constant threat from development. It is up to our participants to spread the word about the importance of forest management, inform woodland owners of programs available to assist them and to volunteer in helping to maintain our public forest areas," said John Hooven, vice-president of the NJFA and facilitator for this year’s NJ Woodland Stewards Program.