Tomorrow, April 22, is the 53rd Earth Day. We recognize and celebrate the bounty of our planet’s resources and natural systems, and also affirm our role in sustaining them for future generations. As a part of that we recognize and celebrate the land stewards who manage all types of private and public lands for long-term environmental, social, and economic benefits. Striking that balance is a monumental challenge but critical if we are to sustain the environmental services that wildlife and humans depend on. THANKS for all you do! Check your local listings for Earth Day events happening in your area.
LONGLEAF PINE COST-SHARE FUNDING AVAILABLE FROM FOREST LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION
Apply by May 5
The Forest Landowners Association has cost-share funding for landowners planning to: plant or replant longleaf pine stands, conduct longleaf planting within the historic longleaf pine range, conduct site preparation and planting activities leading up to and during the 2024 winter planting season (all activities must occur before March 2024). Applications must be submitted by May 5, 2023. See the Forest Landowners Association Longleaf Pine Program web page for details and application. Note that priority will be given to Forest Landowner Association members.
For useful tips on planting longleaf pine see Longleaf Pine Regeneration and Planting Southern Pines in Florida. Keep in mind that summer is the time to order seedlings for the coming fall-winter planting season so it’s time to start planning for that.
SIGN UP FOR USDA NRCS O2O CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAM
Apply by June 16
Florida landowners interested in aligning their land uses with conservation values have an opportunity to apply for a conservation easement program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) beginning April 17. NRCS and NFLT are partnering in a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns in the Ocala-to-Osceola (O2O) Wildlife Corridor. Read about this O2O RCPP and easement opportunity here. Interested landowners can contact Heather Barnes, NFLT O2O Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (904) 579-1967; or Michael Ruiz, NRCS RCPP-Easements, at email@example.com, (352) 338-9566. Apply by June 16, 2023.
NORTH FLORIDA PRESSCRIBED BURN ASSOCIATION (NFPBA) ANNOUNCES 2023-24 SCHOLARSHIP
Apply by June 30, 2023
The NFPBA is a 501c3 non-profit that promotes landowner cooperative use of prescribed fire in 17 North FL counties. NFPBA is a strong advocate for Prescribed Fire in Florida as a land management tool that benefits the safety of the public, the environment, and the economy of the state. To further that belief, the NFPBA is currently seeking applicants for scholarships in the amount of $500 to attend the Florida Certified Prescribed Burn Manager Training Course (in-person class). This course is offered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Florida Forest Service.
This scholarship is targeted towards individuals who are engaged in some aspect of public outreach or education where an enhanced understanding of Prescribed Fire in Florida will allow the applicant to be more effective with engaging and educating the general public about the value and necessity of prescribed fire in managing and maintaining Florida’s environment.
The ideal candidates would be from our primary operational area, which includes the Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia. However, we will accept applications from individuals outside of this area based on the applicant’s merit and background. Go to the NFBA website, https://www.northfloridapba.org/, to download the application. If you have any questions, please contact NFPBA Board Member, Bob Jenkins at firstname.lastname@example.org, (904) 237-6330. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2023 for consideration.
PARTICIPATE IN THE 2022 COSTS AND TRENDS OF SOUTHERN FORESTRY PRACTICES SURVEY
This questionnaire is used not only to better understand the cost of current forestry practices but also as a long-term study about how costs and management practices have changed over time and what influenced those changes. The responses from this survey are important in shaping the narrative of forestry practices in the south and influencing policy decisions that affect private forest landowners. This project is a partnership with the Forest Landowner Foundation, the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment at Auburn University, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The total time commitment will be about 45 minutes depending on the availability of your information. Follow this link for more details and to participate in the Costs and Trends of Southern Forestry Survey.
HELP NEEDED WITH EASTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE STATUS ASSESSMENT
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been petitioned to list the eastern diamondback rattlesnake as a threatened or endangered species. They are now working on a Species Status Assessment (SSA), which they plan to have a draft of in the fall of 2023. This Assessment will be used for all decisions associated with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including whether a species should be listed as endangered/threatened or not. The assessment allows for State and partner engagement in the science used to base ESA decisions. This is our opportunity to let USFWS know how many eastern diamondback rattlesnakes we are seeing in Florida.
You can help! The National Council on Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) has an online survey where you can submit observations of eastern diamondbacks. Please be sure to observe snakes from a safe distance and don’t attempt to kill them. Escambia County Sea Grant Agent Rick O’Connor shares some interesting perspective on this issue in today’s Panhandle Outdoors post.
ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT
Are you new to forestry and land management? Need a good primer on forest management concepts and next steps? This course is for you! Forest landowners, and others in need of forest management information, are encouraged to enroll in this self-paced online course to connect with forest management experts at the University of Florida and receive quality core educational content on forestry and multiple-use stewardship concepts.
The 7 course modules cover a variety of topics on understanding your forest resources, developing your management plan, timber management, marketing forest products, other forest enterprises such as pine straw and hunting leases, wildlife management, and planning for the future. Each module includes recorded video from the field or virtual classroom, links to references, and an assessment where you can apply what you’ve learned to your land or situation. The cost of the course is $150. Those completing the course will earn a University of Florida Certificate of Completion.
See and share course details in the Forest Landowner Academy blog post.
Direct link to enroll in the Forest Landowner Academy:
Questions about the course can be directed to Chris Demers, email@example.com, (352) 846-2375.
CONGRATULATIONS STEPHEN AND DANNA MATHENY, 2023 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD LANDOWNER OF THE YEAR!
Stephen and Danna Matheny own and manage approximately 90 acres in Madison County, Florida, most of which has been in their family for generations. Their land remains one of the last areas of intact groundcover and adult longleaf pines actively maintained with fire in the area, and they are working to keep it that way for many years to come. Learn more about the 2023 Florida Land Steward Landowners of the Year. See the FWC press release from their recognition at the Feb 21 Commissioner’s meeting in Jacksonville, FL. A tour of the Matheny’s property is in the works for the fall. Details to be posted in these updates.
GET FLORIDA LAND STEWARD EMAIL UPDATES
Don’t miss out on news and events! Sign up for the regular email updates! Send an email to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the email listserv. Florida Land Steward email updates are sent once a week or every other week and include the latest calendar of workshops, tours and other events; a link to the current issue of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter; updates on cost-share and other assistance programs, opportunities, and resources; and other stewardship related news and information.
UPCOMING EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
See our Events Calendar and News page for upcoming events and ongoing programs, initiatives, and opportunities.
ACCESS THE QUARTERLY FLORIDA LAND STEWARD NEWSLETTER ONLINE
Access the current and back issues of the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter here.
HAVE AN EVENT OR RELATED NEWS TO SHARE?
Drop a line with the details and link(s) to Chris at email@example.com.
CONSIDER A GIFT IN SUPPORT OF THE UF/IFAS FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PROGRAM
The mission of the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program is to help and encourage private landowners to actively manage their land resources for long-term environmental, economic, and social benefits. This program is largely supported by partners and donors. If this program has made a difference in your land stewardship efforts, please consider a gift. Support the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program here. Thanks!