Article written by Workshop Organizers and originally posted on the ForestHer NC website.
ForestHer NC Editor’s Note: This event took place on November 14 and was a part of the 2022 Conservation Workshop series, a blend of in-person and virtual opportunities to learn with the ForestHer NC community. We hope to continue gathering together in 2023. Do you have a project on your land to share or co-create with fellow ForestHers? Let us know if you want to host a gathering on your land and we can help make that happen!
On a chilly Monday, over 30 women landowners and natural resources practitioners gathered together to talk and learn about what makes a ‘healthy forest.’
After eating lunch together, everyone naturally congregated in the sun under a stunning white oak tree. While warming in the sun, we got to know where everyone was from and why they were attending the workshop. There were familiar faces and some new names. Surprisingly, 38% of people who registered for this event had never been to a ForestHer NC workshop before!
Moving back to the pavilion, participants split into groups to discuss what a healthy forest looks like to them. The groups then presented out to the rest of the groups their thoughts. Answers included things like “a healthy forest has minimal invasive plants,” and “healthy forests support the ‘circle of life.’”
The group discussion segued into flash talks given by practitioners. We heard about forest ecology, invasive plants, wildlife habitat, and water quality from speakers representing the NC Forest Service, NC State University, and NC Wildlife Resources Commission. The questions just kept on coming, and it was hard to want to move onto the next activity!
The Piedmont Region Gathering was held at the Schenck Memorial Forest. This made for a great setting to walk and talk about forest health. We moseyed along a forested trail, identifying plants and talking about forest management strategies to improve wildlife habitat. At a stream crossing, Maria Polizzi with the NC Forest Service talked about the importance of using streamside management zones during management activities.
Overall, it was a great afternoon spent outside. One participant said that talking with other landowners about common problems and solutions is always useful, and that “knowing other people in the same boat always makes one feel better.”