Latest Posts

Field Notes

Spotted Lanternfly Egg Mass Scouting – DIY!

February 23, 2022 - By Lori Chamberlin, VDOF Forest Health Manager If you are in search of a fun winter activity, look no further! The spotted lanternfly (or SLF, for short), an invasive insect that was discovered in Virginia in 2018, continues to spread, and we need your help finding egg masses. Spotted lanternfly egg masses are laid in the fall, survive through the winter, and then hatch in the spring. Each egg mass... Read More

Field Notes

Springtime in February?

February 11, 2022 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator   Nothing says springtime like birds carrying food to the young in their nests. Wait, it’s not spring; it’s February. Birds aren’t nesting yet…or are they? Most birds do wait until warmer months to begin raising young. One reason is better availability of high quality food for the nestlings. Almost all of our songbirds and gamebirds feed their young insects, a high protein... Read More

Field Notes

How Do Trees Survive the Winter?

February 3, 2022 - By Cory Swift-Turner, VDOF Public Information Specialist – Have you ever looked at a tree covered in snow and wondered, how do trees survive cold winters? Trees face several challenges to their survival in the winter, including scarce liquid water, freezing temperatures and strong winds. To meet these challenges, trees have developed a number of adaptations to help them make it to the next spring. Since the harsh, dry conditions... Read More

Field Notes

Urban Trees “Releave” the Heat

January 28, 2022 - By Eli Podyma, VDOF Community Forester A large part of my work as a community forester involves collaborating with local non-profit organizations to protect and enhance the urban forest canopy. One of these organizations, Southside Releaf, was recently featured on an episode of Virginia Homegrown, speaking about their mission to build a healthy, equitable, and sustainable environment for all South Richmond residents. Sheri Shannon, co-founder of Southside Releaf, mentioned partnering... Read More

Field Notes

A Natural Partnership

January 25, 2022 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator This is a tale of partnership, program creation, and a great idea brought to life. Early in 2004, Dr. Jeff Kirwan of Virginia Tech heard about a new volunteer program that had taken root in several states – one with enormous potential benefit for Virginia’s natural resources. In a matter of weeks, he pulled together a group of seven motivated worker bees and... Read More

Field Notes

Praise for Fallen Leaves

December 15, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator December is here – time to look forward to gifts, family visits, amazing food, and some welcome time off work. Raking leaves doesn’t rank very high on the December fun meter. But think of those fallen leaves as free mulch, there for the taking in this season of spending. Maybe you think of mulch as the chopped wood chips or bark that comes... Read More


In Memory of Joe Schaefer

December 7, 2021 - By Janet Muncy, integrated media manager The Virginia Department of Forestry mourns the loss of a member of the VDOF family, Joseph (Joe) W. Schaefer, assets and infrastructure manager, who passed away October 23, 2021. A retired U.S. Air Force veteran of 21 years, Joe had a vast military background that took him around the world before he settled here in Virginia and began his career with VDOF in February... Read More

Field Notes

The Benefits of a Live Christmas Tree

December 3, 2021 - By Cory Swift-Turner, VDOF Public Information Specialist — Every holiday season, thousands of Virginians carry on a family tradition by loading up in their car and driving to one of the state’s nearly 500 Christmas tree farms, to find the tree that will be the centerpiece of their Christmas decorating. Whether you are selecting a pre-cut tree, or cutting one down yourself, there is something exciting about finding the special... Read More

Field Notes

Woodpecker Attends New Employee Orientation

November 15, 2021 - By Scott Bachman, VDOF Senior Area Forester Several weeks ago, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Eastern Region had the opportunity to show off our work for the agency’s most recently hired employees, during their orientation tour. A group of our region’s staff – Heather Dowling, Jeremey Falkenau, Bryant Bays, Lisa Burke, Brenda Clarke and I – collaborated to come up with several days of activities that we hoped would... Read More

Success Stories

Can Trees Save a Sinking Island?

November 10, 2021 - By Cory Swift-Turner, Public Information Specialist — Tangier Island is known for its soft-shell crabs and the unique lifestyle of its residents. But the very body of water that sustains the community is also threatening to swallow it. As ocean levels rise, coastal communities across Virginia are facing new challenges from storm-driven erosion, nuisance flooding, and tides that creep in further each year. Island communities such as Tangier, located 12... Read More