Chris McCurry attended the first of several workshops in Morganton, geared toward women landowners in the Blue Ridge Region. The room was filled with smart women who really care about their land, their community and nature.
ForestHer NC is a new initiative created by conservation organizations in North Carolina to provide women who are forest landowners with tools and training to help them manage their lands and become more engaged in forest stewardship.
According to the Women Owning Woodlands network and data published in the National Woodland Owners Survey, “the percentage of family forest ownerships where a woman is the primary decision maker doubled from 2006 to 2013. These women make decisions for 44 million acres of America’s family forest land.” In North Carolina, 65 percent of private forestland is jointly owned by women, yet statistics indicate that women are significantly less likely to attend conventional landowner programs and participate in management activities.
During the workshops, participants will learn about North Carolina’s forest ecosystems; identify the types of forests they own and/or manage; and understand the role their woodland plays in the greater landscape. Other topics include defining and balancing multiple land management objectives, obtaining a forest management plan, reading aerial photographs and topo maps, and identifying resources available locally to help with land management. This is a first in a series of quarterly workshops offered regionally.
“Research shows women are starting to have a greater influence on private lands management, which reinforces the need for us to develop a program specifically designed to appeal to women and engage them in conservation practices” said Kelly Douglass, a technical assistance biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “We hope this program will foster a sense of community among participants, provide them with an opportunity to learn from others in a positive, encouraging environment, and ultimately help them reach their conservation goals.”
ForestHer NC is sponsored by conservation organizations including the Commission, U.S Forest Service, N.C. Tree Farm Program, N.C. Forest Service, Audubon North Carolina, Wild Turkey Federation, N.C. State Extension, and the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project.