Virginia Tech Web-Based Course Assists Landowners

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 5, 2003 – Do you wonder where the exact boundary line of your "north forty" lies? Or what kind of trees are in your front pasture, and how old they are?

Virginia Tech Forestry Extension, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, has developed Woodland Options for Landowners, the nation's first web-based course for forest landowners. The introductory course, taught by the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program Director Shawn Baker, provides private landowners with a broad overview of forest management principles and practices.

Online registration for Woodland Options for Landowners is available through the website: The cost is $60. The course is scheduled to begin Feb. 2, 2004.

"Regardless of whether a landowner has five or 5,000 acres, and lives near their property or is an absentee landowner, this course is designed to help them define and reach their goals," Baker said. "Taking this course using the Internet helps those landowners who do not have the time for attending similar face-to-face classes."

Woodland Options for Landowners is comprised of six online modules: 1) Vision, Goals and Family Resources; 2) Stewardship and Sustainability; 3) Property Deeds and Boundary Lines; 4) Maps, Photos, and Soil Surveys; 5) Forest Ecology and Management; and 6) Assistance, Planning, and Options.

Advanced "hands-on" assignments are optional and completed on the individual's own property. They allow the student to actually apply what he or she has learned.

In addition to the online course materials, mentor groups made up of professional foresters and experienced landowners interact with course participants through email and chat room discussions throughout the course.