Wildlife Biologist Brian Chandler. Photos by Emily Paine Carter, special to So Salem
Tour attendees Woody and Sharon Wimmer
On a fine fall day, folks gathered in the Salem Walmart parking lot. Adventure called!
Soon 32 attendees plus guides/speakers would load into vans and SUVs for the annual Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tour. And in-charge Jennifer Gagnon had thought of everything — including a fine array of snacks to ease some of us morning-challenged souls into the misty early hours of the all-day tour.
She coordinates the program for Virginia Forest Landowner Education (office at Virginia Tech) and Virginia Cooperative Extension. And indeed she had much to coordinate: Eleven additional sponsors, eight “official” speakers (plus a landowner), four sites….
Speakers/guides included assorted biologists, a Master Naturalist and Forestry folks. All were well-informed and engaging (some were even hilarious).
Hills, dales, mountains, fields, creek-sides: From Catawba to Poor Mountain to Greater Glenvar, it was quite the tour:
Stop 1: Certified “Forest Steward” Rob Guiles showed off his remarkable Catawba tree farm and home.
“I feel I’m part of a plan,” he said. As we hiked he pointed out red- and yellow-stem dogwood, button bush, paw-paws, etc. Plus one-plant-rejected-by-deer!
He’s happy to encourage just about all wildlife except deer on his property. (“And stinkbugs!” laughed attendee Sharon Wimmer. She reported multitudes in her Wabun section of Glenvar.)
Man-with-many-bosses Andy Rosenberger talked about cost-share programs and managing for quail.
Stop 2: At the Tech-owned Catawba Sustainability Center Katie Trozzo introduced agro-forestry practices (its first time on the tour). Warm-season grass management was also discussed (fun fact: Some grasses have up to 12-foot deep roots! This explains so much.) Read more »