Post Type: Field Notes

Field Notes

Prescribed Burning with Dragon Eggs!

July 16, 2021 - By Lisa Deaton, VDOF Area Forester; contributor: Rod Newlin, VDOF Water Quality Engineer The Virginia Department of Forestry has many tools for prescribed burning, from bulldozers that pull fire plows, to UTVs with water tanks, to drip torches, fire rakes, shovels and more. The following two photos are from a dormant season burn of loblolly pine stands at Sandy Point State Forest, with a combined goal of wildlife habitat improvement and... Read More

Field Notes

(Don’t) Pick Your Poison

July 9, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Walking along a forest path this time of year, it’s tempting to reach out and touch all those lush, green leaves. That’s not always a good idea, because Virginia has three species of plants in the genus Toxicodendron. When the botanical name translates to “poison tree,” it’s best to look, not touch. The most familiar of Virginia’s poisonous plants is poison ivy, Toxicodendron... Read More

Field Notes

An Ode to Dead Trees

June 9, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Contributors: Lisa Deaton, Kenny Thomas, Chris Thomsen    Recently, I’ve received photos from several VDOF staff, which I’d planned to use in a “What’s in the Woods Today?” post. This time, all the photos had something interesting in common: trees that were either going, or gone. Fortunately, a dead tree can be full of life, in more ways than one. This sassafras in... Read More

Field Notes

“Do You Work in the Forest or the Mill?”

May 27, 2021 - By: Rachel Harris, VDOF Utilization & Marketing Specialist Every so often, loggers emerge from the woods and sawmill operators shake off the sawdust to join together at an industry event and catch up on the latest news. The fourth weekend in May was a beautiful choice for the 37th East Coast Sawmill and Logging Equipment Exposition, allowing members of the forest industry to gather once again in person and see... Read More

Field Notes

Witnessing a Miracle

May 24, 2021 - By Sarah Parmelee, VDOF Forestland Conservation Coordinator This spring I didn’t go to many tree plantings, but I was able to take part in something very important, and in a way, miraculous. I am a country mouse if ever there was one, and even though Washington D.C. is just a an hour away, it feels like traveling to another country to leave the hills of Warrenton and make the trek... Read More

Field Notes

Growing a Food Forest

May 18, 2021 - By Meghan Mulroy-Goldman, VDOF Community Forester Ever wonder where the fruit in the grocery store comes from? In today’s supermarkets, you can find fruit and nuts from across the country and globe. You might find bananas from Guatemala, almonds from California, and apples from New York. Many familiar foods grow on trees and can be grown right in your backyard, in city parks, or even on street trees! While growing... Read More

Field Notes

The Early Caterpillar Gets the Leaf!

May 12, 2021 - By Katlin DeWitt, VDOF Forest Health Specialist Spring is a welcome season for many living things, signaling the end of cold weather and resurgence of color through plants blooming and leafing out. This period of awakening also means that insects emerge and utilize tender foliage for their own development. Forests support many insects throughout their life cycle, but some Lepidopteran species (butterflies and moths) are called early season defoliators, meaning... Read More

Field Notes

Woodland Weirdos

May 7, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator There’s a lot going on underfoot in Virginia’s forests, from wild to wonderful to just plain weird. Some of our strangest plants break all the rules we learned back in elementary school. They aren’t green, they don’t photosynthesize, and they don’t even look like plants. At first glance, these odd growths emerging from the leaf litter appear to be mushrooms. A closer look... Read More

Field Notes

Arbor Day in Pandemic Times

May 4, 2021 - By Molly O’Liddy, VDOF Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator Despite these uncertain times, communities across the Commonwealth have continued to celebrate their love of trees in Arbor Day celebrations. In Virginia, Arbor Day is annually recognized as the last Friday in April. Traditionally, cities and towns have held parades, concerts and festivals that bring the whole community together. During the first Arbor Day, held in Nebraska in 1872, one million trees... Read More

Field Notes

Flower Power

April 28, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator As a botany enthusiast, I spend a lot of spring hikes looking down, seeking out flashes of white and pops of color from early spring wildflowers. Fortunately, when I get tired of staring at the forest floor, there are blooms to be seen at eye level and above, thanks to our spring-blooming native trees and shrubs. I should first note that all of... Read More