Oct. 13-16: Women and their Woods: Building a Network of Women Forest Landowners

Sandra Repp sjr37 at cornell.edu
Thu Jul 14 15:01:27 EDT 2011

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Peter J Smallidge <pjs23 at cornell.edu>
To: CCE-FORESTRY-L <CCE-FORESTRY-L at list.cornell.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:43 PM
Subject: Women and their Woods, new Penn State educational program

FYI, see below.  This looks like a good opportunity.  Note the August 
1 deadline for applications.  Please share broadly.

Women and their Woods: Building a Network of Women Forest Landowners

Throughout our region, women are increasingly responsible for the 
care and stewardship of private forestlands; they outlive spouses, 
inherit forestland from parents, or just seek their own woodlot. Yet 
these women may often lack the confidence, knowledge, and access to 
resources that allow them to be successful. Anecdotally, resource 
professionals report few interactions with women landowners until 
after something adverse has happened to the land. This puts women at 
higher personal economic risk, which results not only in poor 
management of resources, but high likelihood of the sale and 
conversion of working land to a non-forest use such as development.

A study of forest landowner offspring conducted for the National 
Association of State Foresters showed that 83% of women sampled were 
interested in managing their family forestland when transfer 
occurred, but only 34% felt they had enough knowledge to make forest 
management decisions (Mater 2005). Mater showed that women offspring 
and beginning women managers often had different land management 
objectives than their male counterparts; women expressed a stronger 
commitment to ecology and stewardship, but lacked the confidence and 
economic resources to implement their goals. Other studies have shown 
that for women a major barrier to involvement with forestry 
organizations is a feeling of not being welcome and a perception of 
lacking in basic vocabulary and knowledge which makes attending 
meetings intimidating. Despite increased gender-equity in recent 
years as more women become natural resources professionals, the field 
of forestry, and the resources needed to practice it, is still male-dominated.

Faced with the need to make decisions about their lands, women are 
seeking information in other formats on how to care for and manage 
their land. Many find that being involved in a woodland owner network 
or otherwise linked to professional resources provides necessary 
information regarding conservation options available. Others aren't 
sure where to start in seeking out resources to care for their land. 
A desire to be more connected and learn with and from other women in 
similar land management roles has led a group of women forest 
landowners in northeast Pennsylvania to form Women and their Woods.

In 2008, with the support of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and 
the USDA Forest Service at Grey Towers, a group of women landowners 
met to learn more about the forests they own and how to connect with 
other women forest landowners. During each meeting, women gather, 
share information, ask questions, meet professionals, and enjoy a 
hearty potluck. Everyone walks away from the event with more 
confidence and ideas on how to better care for their land. In 
addition to providing information, the Women and their Woods program 
seeks to instill a sense of stewardship and knowledge about the value 
of intact forestland.

With an increased interest in promoting educational opportunities for 
women forest landowners, the Conservancy and Penn State's Natural 
Resources Extension, with funding from the PA Department of 
Conservation and Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service, are 
offering outreach and education to women forest landowners across 
Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to informative 
newsletters and emails about events and cost share incentive 
programs, the partnership is offering a long-weekend educational 
retreat for women forest landowners from October 13-16.

We invite women who own or manage forestland to join us for a weekend 
full of educational programs related to the care and management of 
forestland. We are seeking interested women to be a part of this 
opportunity to create a network and serve as mentors to other women 
forest landowners across the region.

The cost to attend the four day retreat is $130 and covers all 
lodging and meals, all materials, and nationally known presenters at 
Camp Susque near Trout Run, Lycoming County, in the scenic 
Pennsylvania Wilds. The deadline to submit applications is August 1, 2011.

Post retreat, attendees will be encouraged to reach out to other 
women landowners and share their knowledge about the Women and their 
Woods program in their own community, with the goal of forming 
regional networking groups for women forest landowners across the 
region. Through ongoing trainings and meetings, these groups will 
continue to receive the support of Extension and the Conservancy.

If you are interested in being involved with the Women and their 
Woods group, contact Allyson Muth at Penn State (814-865-3208, 
<https://exchange.cornell.edu/owa/https://exchange.cornell.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=32753fcbb7a5474490552ab38ca02b25&URL=mailto%3aabm173%40psu.edu>abm173 at psu.edu) 
for an application or for more information.

Mater, C.M. 2005. Family forests: What will the next generation do? 
Address to the National Association of State Foresters. Available 
online at 
Allyson Brownlee Muth, Ed.D.
Forest Stewardship Program Associate

The Pennsylvania State University
333 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA  16802
(814) 865-3208
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