He is a member of MFA, Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and American Tree Farm Program. He is a Master Woodland Steward, Woodland Advocate, Coverts Cooperator and graduate of the Wisconsin Woodland Leadership Institute. As you will see in the piece he wrote below, Neal has a passion for sharing what he has learned with others.
Wanted: volunteer educators-mentors
By Neal. W. Chapman
What do you value about your land? Do you enjoy sharing your passion with others, talking about what goes on there, sharing pictures taken there as if it were a child or grandchild?
If you answered in the affirmative, then I ask you to consider becoming a volunteer educator/mentor with other landowners. One opportunity would involve putting on a class at your local community education program. I have found this to be a relatively easy way to reach others.
Last winter, I piloted a woodland stewardship program to reach woodland owners through local public school Community Education Programs. I contacted three school districts with my idea, and was enthusiastically received. The class “Learn About Your Woodland” was first offered through the Roseville Community Education program during the winter of 2012, followed by 2 schools in Wisconsin. These classes were offered in two-hour increments over two or three evenings, and focused on identifying landowner goals and objectives in preparation for professional visits from a forester. I chose the Community Education venue because this simplifies the location, registration, equipment, and some of the promotional activities associated with class offerings. It also provides a local, inexpensive opportunity for landowners to learn about and become engaged in woodland stewardship, and to network with others.
Working with Eli Sagor at UMN Extension, I chose to use the text “Woodland Stewardship”, 2nd ed., as the foundation for the class and provided participants with a number of handouts. I also focused on wildlife management on their properties. There were 21 total participants and I found my audiences engaged, full of questions, and ready to take the next step in managing their woodland properties. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in class and was very personally rewarded.
I am prepared to share the process and resources with others who have an interest and passion for sharing their knowledge and experiences in a casual environment. It really is easier than you may think! You will come away with more information as well, not quite a walk in the woods, but close.
Recent cuts in funding at all levels has dramatically affected the ability of both DNR and University Extension to provide the level of services previously available to assist private landowners in caring for their land. Volunteer educators/mentors can help deliver woodland stewardship information to help meet landowners’ needs.
There are many other ways that volunteers can make a difference working with fellow landowners. Discussions are ongoing with DNR Forestry leadership, University Mn Extension, and other resource professionals to best utilize the time and talents of those who volunteer.
This effort is currently very much in the development process, but volunteers are needed NOW to help shape the effort. Please contact me directly if you wish to explore the opportunity to help other woodland owners make informed decisions about managing their land. The commitment is small, the reward great.
Contact Neal W. Chapman at 612-998-7901 or via email at email@example.com