Photo of the Week: Sept. 10, 2014
Today, North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s forestry program supports an industry worth $24 billion a year to the state’s economy while helping communities manage their forests, homeowners take care of their trees and young people learn about the natural environment. The program got its start in 1917 with the hiring of the first farm forestry specialist J.S. Holmes.
The program addressed its earliest challenge — convincing woodland owners of the need for better management and use of forests — by providing them with information about protecting againsts insects and diseases, forest and grazing damage and by helping them with marketing and, in some cases, supervising logging, sawing and handling timber.
On his own initiative, Iredell County extension agent R.W. Graeber, trained in dairying, started on-farm timber thinning demonstrations in each township of his county in the 1920s. Other agents followed his lead, and Graebner ultimately became Extension’s statewide farm forestry specialist.
Since Graebner’s days, Extension forestry programs have grown in scope and size, playing a major role in helping North Carolinians make informed decisions concerning the management, enhancement and enjoyment of their forests and other natural resources. Program areas include:
- Christmas Tree Production & Marketing – Promoting economic development through best management practices and sound business skills.
- Community Forestry – Improving the health of community forest through management and policy.
- Environmental Stewardship – Improving forest health and promoting natural resource-based alternative income opportunities.
- Family Forestry – Enhancing natural resource stewardship and improving economic well being through active management.
- Woody Biomass and Renewable Energy – Addressing global climate change through policy and energy markets.
- Youth Education – Connecting youth with the natural environment through 4-H and Project Learning Tree.