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Division’s Todd Katzner Seeks Safe Paths for North American Golden Eagles Renewable energy sources may minimize human impact on the environment, but they are not without ecological challenges. Wind power is a clean, promising technology and is likely to be used much more broadly throughout the midAtlantic region to supplement other energy sources in coming years and many projects are being planned or are already in development. Wind power installations placed within their seasonal ranges and migration routes can pose a serious threat to birds when they collide with wind turbine blades. Knowing more about the habits and patterns of regional species can help to design and locate wind installations so that impacts on bird populations are minimal. Todd Katzner, a jointly appointed researcher with the US Forest Service and the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources program in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at WVU, is currently collaborating with Phil Turk, professor of statistics, on a project to provide a framework for safer and less controversial development of wind power in the eastern golden eagle range. This is one of the first such research projects anywhere in the world, and the only one of its type in the eastern United States. The impacts of wind installations on bird populations are regionally specific because the species and their patterns vary by region and time of year. The mid-Atlantic region hosts significant populations of North American golden eagles, which breed in northeastern Canada and winter in the central and southern Appalachian mountains. Working with colleagues throughout the eastern range of the species, Katzner has been studying eastern golden eagle population trends and migration patterns for more than five years. “For years people have watched golden eagles migrate through Pennsylvania, without really knowing where they wintered ” Katzner explained. “We trapped some of those birds in Pennsylvania, outfitted them with Global Positioning System telemetry tags, and started to notice that they all wintered in West Virginia.” As it turns out, West Virginia has more golden eagles wintering within its borders than anywhere else east of the Mississippi. Katzner and Turk are trying document the migratory patterns of golden eagles so that wind installations can be located to minimize impact on the species. “A distance of just a couple of hundred meters might make a big difference in reducing fatalities,” Katzner said.

“The goal of this project is to develop high-resolution spatial maps showing migration corridors of and habitat use by eastern golden eagles in regions of high potential for wind development. These maps can then be used to guide safer development of wind energy while also protecting a suite of species similar to golden eagles,” Katzner said. To identify ways to mitigate the impacts of wind power development on eagles Katzner, Turk and their collaborators will use a multi-step strategy: • First, they will expand existing fluid-flow models of raptor migration for the eastern U.S. to identify broadscale migration patterns • Second, they will use completely novel high-resolution bird tracking devices to discover routes of passage and detailed flight behavior of individual golden eagles throughout the eastern U.S. • Finally, they will integrate these data and models to predict population-level migration patterns and individual flight behavior on migration This strategy will allow them to develop models that generate probable regional maps showing relative risk to birds from wind development. These maps will allow for specific recommendations regarding the development of new wind farms and operation of existing wind farms.

You can learn more about Dr. Katzner and his work at his personal website:

ERC to Study Environmental Impacts of WV Highway Construction WVU announced in early April that the Environmental Research Center is teaming up with the WV Division of Highways and a number of other partners to improve the environmental assessment and planning policies of highway construction projects in the southern coalfields region of West Virginia. The goal is to get the data necessary to improve construction planning so that impacts on wetlands and streams, watershed management and biodiversity are minimized. Jim Anderson, Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, will be heading up the multidisciplinary research team. Other Division scientists involved in the project include Todd Petty, Todd Katzner, and Walter Veselka. The are joined by colleagues from other Divisions, including Sam Lamont, Mike Strager, Hadijat Ghadimi, and Lian-Shin Lin. Their work is being funded by a highly competitive $360,000 grant from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Anderson said a key priority for the researchers would be to balance the needs of wildlife, the environment, and people. “West Virginia needs more economic development and understands that highways are part of an economic growth strategy,” Anderson said. “However, we recognize that the growth must not come at the expense of ecosystem health and services.” Habitat fragmentation will be one concern of the study, Katzner said. Roads and the water infrastructure associated with them can break up habitat into smaller chunks and disrupt the established movements of species within them. Tunnels may be one method of mitigating fragmentation effects. “We want to live a high-quality life but also have biodiversity, and biodiversity can be considered an aspect of having a high quality life,” Katzner said. The team is focusing on two ongoing projects: the Coalfields Expressway (US 121), which runs from Beckley southwest to Virginia, and the 95-mile King Coal Highway (US 52), which runs from Bluefield northwest towards Kentucky. The Environmental Research Center was established in 2009. Its goal is to provide a center of excellence that effectively informs policy and promotes economic development focused on a sustainable and productive natural environment.

Zegre to Study Causes of Flooding Dr. Nicolas Zegre, Professor of Hydrology in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, has received a significant research award to study the causes of major floods in West Virginia. The 2011 Ralph E. Powe, Jr. Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities recognizes Zegre’s work studying forest and catchment hydrology. Dr. Zegre is searching for the specific causes of flooding by tracking the length of time that rainfall is retained by a selected watershed in southern West Virginia where a major flood occurred in 2001 via isotope hydrology. “From a chemistry point of view, each rainfall event has a unique isotopic signature of oxygen and hydrogen,” Zegre said. “The ratios are like fingerprints.” By analyzing those unique isotopic signatures, researchers can determine how long it takes rainfall to move from point to point within the watershed. “We collect samples of rain and test them to find the ratios,” Zegre said. “Then we sample the water downstream in the watershed and analyze for the ratios. When the ratios match, I can determine how long it has taken for the rainfall to reach that point.” ORAU is a 98-member consortium of major Ph.D.-granting institutions that works to cultivate collaborative partnerships around promising research. The ORAU award provides seed money for promising research by junior faculty at ORAU member institutions. WVU has been a member since 1957. The research site is a relatively undisturbed headwater watershed in the Coal River basin in Raleigh County, WV. The scientists chose this watershed because it is slated to be mined in the near future. Dr. Zegre is seeking funding to continue to study the same landscape post-mining. “Once the mining happens we can compare the pre-disturbance dataset to the post-disturbance dataset to start answering some of these questions related to mining and reclamation.” This project was initially funded with a one-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The $5,000 ORAU award will enable him to carry the research forward and WVU’s Office of Research and the National Research Center for Coal and Energy have provided matching funds.

AHC receives “GREEN-UP” Grant to Train Future Loggers The Appalachian Hardwood Center has received a grant from the West Virginia GREEN-UP Council to be used for the development of a collaborative training program to support the state’s logging industry and the green energy biomass efforts in the region that rely on logging byproducts. Ben Spong, Forest Operations Specialist with WVU Extension, will serve as principle investigator on the project. The formal title of the project is “West Virginia GREEN-UP: A 21st Century Partnership to Support Energy Sector Education and Training – Certified Logger Project”. The grant derived from a $6 million award from the US Department of Labor to support the WorkForce West Virginia’s efforts to provide green jobs education and training. The generation of green power from woody biomass depends on the ability of the logging industry to move feedstock from the forest to the emerging green energy providers. “The logger must be prepared to take advantage of the market opportunities,” Spong says. “This will require having access to skilled employees. This program will be innovative as we aggressively market and recruit participants and provide a complete basic training package that will allow successful participant to hit the ground running.” Participants who complete the training program will be eligible to be certified by the State of West Virginia as a logger. These newly trained loggers will provide a necessary boost to the pool of trained workers available to the current and anticipated expansion of the logging industry. The first class of students will undertake the intensive, two-week course in September 2011. The GREEN-UP Council consists of representatives from business, organized labor, nonprofit organizations, research firms, economic development, and education providers; the Council works with five regional teams to coordinate grant activities throughout the state. 2 Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University

Grant will Support Research into Mountaintop Mining Impacts A team of WVU scientists, including the Division’s Dr. Todd Petty and doctoral student Eric Merriam, are teaming up with colleagues Dr. Michael Strager, Assistant Professor of Resource Economics, and Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director of WVU’s Water Research Institute, to study the health of watersheds in the state’s southern coalfields and how those watersheds are affected by mountaintop mining. The team has received more than $600,000 in grant funding to pursue this research. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing $300,000 for research in the watersheds of the Gauley, Kanawha, Coal and Guyandotte rivers, as well as Twelvepole Creek and Tug Fork, and the state Department of Environmental Protection is providing $330,000 for related work. “Much of the current debate over mountaintop mining focuses on the impacts of mining to water resources,” Petty said. “This debate neglects the fact that many of the watersheds are already in poor condition for a lot of reasons, such as historic mining, other development activities, and untreated wastewater.” The team will develop models that incorporate various kinds of development and land disturbance with a variety of mitigation systems, then project how waterways would likely respond. Mitigation models may include stream channel reconstruction, construction of stormwater management systems, or improved municipal wastewater treatment. “In this project we will be monitoring the ecological benefits of several mitigation projects that have been implemented by the state and by coal companies in the region,” Petty said. Information from this process will then be built into the cumulative impact modeling tool so that researchers can project the net impacts or benefits of a combined mine development and stream mitigation proposal. The project should provide a framework for new mine development within an overall watershed development process. “Our approach allows us to factor in multiple stressors within a watershed and direct mitigation actions in a way that has the potential for producing benefits to water resources at a watershed scale. In other words, we identify scenarios that minimize mining impacts and maximize mitigation benefits at the watershed,” Petty said. “In the end this creates opportunities to foster economic activity through mining while also facilitating improvement to overall environmental conditions.”

Eric Merriam Publishes Water Quality Study Eric Merriam is a doctoral student in the Division working closely with Drs. Petty, Strager and Ziemkiewicz on research into the effects of mountaintop mining on water quality in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. Eric served as the primary investigator on one component of the larger water quality study and is responsible for one of the first publications to emerge from the work, “Additive effects of mining and residential development on stream conditions in a central Appalachian watershed,” published in the prestigious Journal of the North American Benthological Society in March 2011. Co-investigators include Drs. J. Todd Petty, George T. Merovich, Jr., Jennifer B. Fulton and Michael P. Strager. Eric is from Elkins, WV and his interest in regional water quality issues is longstanding. He was fortunate to discover his research interests early. After completing his undergraduate work at Marshall University (2007), he had narrowed those interests to environmental biology or medicine; he ultimately chose the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at WVU in order to study with Dr. Petty because he is intrigued by the science and knows the ecological and economic impacts of such work are crucially important. The published paper emerges from Master’s level work under Dr. Petty’s aegis, but Eric has since moved on to Ph.D. study. The publication topic led to more funding and discovery of his dissertation work.

DeVallance and Grushecky Measuring Demand for Green Building Materials As an assistant professor in the Division’s Wood Science and Technology program, David DeVallance develops products from wood and various waste materials to produce sustainable materials for building and other uses. Industry experience taught him that, while innovative and sustainably produced wood products are great in their own right, demand for those products is a key part of the equation. That’s why he’s studying the demand for certified and “green” wood products in the building industry of the Appalachian region. With funding from Rural Action, an Ohio-based organization that seeks to foster social, economic and environmental justice, DeVallance, along with Shawn Grushecky of WVU’s Appalachian Hardwood Center, will look at the level of use of certified wood products in the construction of affordable housing in states in the Appalachian region. Certified wood products are derived from forests that practice sustainable harvesting methods. Certification is provided by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Building organizations concerned with sustainability, like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the National Association of Home Builders, factor use of certified and “green” wood products in their evaluation of a structure’s relative greenness. And state agencies that fund affordable housing give varying degrees of weight to choice of building materials, if those materials were locally sourced, and other factors in their guidelines for sustainable design and building. It’s a jumble of different guidelines, and part of DeVallance’s work will be to figure out the ways they factor into demand for wood products that are assigned points under the various green building programs. He notes that there are a number of wood products businesses in the Appalachian region, but it’s unclear how well they’re able to market their products to the affordable housing sector of the building industry. “One of the questions we’d like to answer is, do we need to develop a system that connects the region’s manufacturers of wood products with green builders,” DeVallance said. Other factors DeVallance will consider include the local availability of certified wood products. “The emerging green building sector has potential as being a significant market opportunity for Appalachian hardwood manufacturers,” DeVallance said. “However, to successfully position current hardwood products and newly developed, value-added composites, more knowledge is needed regarding the attributes that green consumers demand out of the products they purchase.”

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Nathan Beane: Mapping the Future of Red Spruce in WV Red spruce forests are one of the most threatened forest ecosystems in the eastern United States. In West Virginia, this unique forest type has been drastically reduced, due primarily to early 20th century exploitative harvesting and wildfire. Today, there are concerns about the fate of this high-elevation forest type in the face of climate change, as this species occurs only in the high-elevation regions of West Virginia. A recent graduate of the Division, Nathan R. Beane, conducted his dissertation research to assess the impacts of climatic change on the fate of red spruce forest habitat in West Virginia. Dr. Beane spent two summers hiking and camping throughout the highest elevations of the Mountain State, collecting field-data for the development of a habitat suitability model for red spruce. Using field measurements coupled with high-resolution, spatially explicit GIS (geographic information systems) data, red spruce habitat models were constructed using a novel modeling method called Maximum Entropy. One goal of this research work was to model all areas on the landscape that currently possessed suitable habit for red spruce. That is, we wished to identify all areas on the landscape that offered similar growing conditions, such as mean annual temperature, soil type, elevation, etc., even if the species was not present. By identifying all areas that possessed the suitable habitat for red spruce, we created a basis for comparing the potential loss of suitable habitat for red spruce under climatic change. Today, there are approximately 50,000 acres of red spruce forests in West Virginia, a fraction of the habitat that was present prior to the exploitative logging and wildfire which occurred from 1880-1920. However, the current model identified approximately 900,000 acres of suitable habitat for red spruce and also provided much greater detail compared to former red spruce range maps. The second portion of Dr. Beane’s research was to create, using statistically downscaled climate data, a worst- and best-case climate scenario model in order to examine the impacts of future climatic conditions on the fate of red spruce forest habitat. For the worst-case scenario model, a complete loss of suitable habitat for red spruce was identified to occur by the year 2100. It is important to note that these findings do not indicate that the presence of red spruce will vanish by the year 2100, rather that growing conditions where we today identify red spruce to occur, will not be present. For the best-case scenario model, a reduction of habitat was identified at 85%, resulting in approximately 130K acres of suitable habitat for red spruce identified to occur by the year 2100 in West Virginia (Figure to Right). These model results made evident the significant impacts that climate change may have on tree species, particularly for species with limited range and that possess specific habitat requirements, such as red spruce. The utility of this research effort was not only to quantify the extent of potential change for red spruce habitat under climatic change, but also to create habitat suitability maps under varying scenarios which identified areas on the landscape best-suited for possessing red spruce habitat currently and in the future. These habitat suitability maps, performed at a state and county level (Figure to Left) will play an important role for land managers by identifying areas on the landscape bestsuited for red spruce under an altered climate. This research effort will also provide a tool for ecologists to ensure the preservation of this rare forest type in West Virginia that offers protection for many cold-water trout streams in the state, as well as, provides the necessary habitat for the endemic and federally endangered Cheat Mountain salamander and recently delisted Virginia Northern flying squirrel. Dr. Beane is now employed as a research scientist with the Ecological Resources Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ERDC-Environmental Laboratory, in Vicksburg, MS. His research efforts are focused on assessing climate-induced biome shifts for military installations across North America and its direct impact on military systems, infrastructure, and operations. Any questions regarding his dissertation research may be sent to

Alumnus Honors Dr. Ken Carvell & WVU Foresters In the photo to the right, Owen Strickler (class of 1968) and Terry Grech (class of 83) stand by sign in front of newly-established longleaf pine stand in southeastern Virginia. This young pine stand is dedicated to Dr. Kenneth Carvell, professor emeritus, and the WVU Foresters for their fine forestry and wood products education. On a recent field trip to view their loblolly plantations, Dr. Carvell urged Owen to put in some longleaf, a beautiful conifer, just for the satisfaction of owning a longleaf stand. This picture attests to the fact that Owen took him seriously. Owen and his partner, Terry, own extensive forest lands in four Virginia counties. Owen has a large sawmill in Lawenceville, The Virginia-Carolina Lumber Co. Timber production and management are his primary objectives, with a strong priority placed conservation and preservation. Mr. Strickler uses many sound forestry practices to manage the timber stand, making for a good mixture of young and mature trees. “Anyway, we have dedicated this stand to you. You have done so much for Terry & I and our families. You have done a lot for WVU Foresters & we are thankful.� 4 Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University

Division Hosts Fifth Annual Fire Academy June 4-10 marked the fifth year the Division co-hosted the Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact’s annual Mid-Atlantic Wildfire Training Academy. The only such training event in the region, this important educational event has instructed hundreds of firefighters and other first responders over the years. This year was no exception, as approximately 200 participants came to learn basic and advanced skills essential to the effective management or suppression of wildfire. The event is co-sponsored with support from the USDA Forest Service and the USDI National Park Service. The Mid-Atlantic Forest Fire Compact serves seven states (Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio), but Academy participants come from throughout the United States to learn, earn certifications, teach, and reconnect with colleagues in the week-long educational intensive. “Everybody from Maine down to Virginia, West Virginia, out to Tennessee, Kentucky. We have students here from just about all the states represented on the east coast,” said instructor Willie Cirone. Graduates of the Academy serve throughout the United States and Canada whenever states share fire-fighting personnel, including in high-intensity fires in the western United States. “1989 was my first trip out west, “Cirone said, “and since I’ve gone out 18 times.” Fire Academy course offerings include a diverse range of skills and are taught in both classroom and hands-on outdoor contexts. “We want to make sure they have the proper techniques and procedures to safely work with the equipment and come home every evening safely,” said Tom Oaxley of the WV Division of Forestry. Courses are taught to a high standard; all offerings meet or exceed National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) standards and students receive a NWCG certificate upon successful completion of a course. Participants can earn continuing forestry education units (CFEUs) toward professional certification. This year’s courses included Basic Fire Fighting; Wildland Fire Chain Saw Skills; Fire Operations in the Wildland/Urban Interface, Helicopter Crewmember, Portable Pumps and Water Use, Leadership Skills and Intermediate ICS: ICS for Supervisors and Expanding Incidents. More specialized courses included trainings for becoming a facilitative instructor, an initial attack incident commander, an extended attack incident commander, a crew boss or a helicopter crew member.

Division to Co-Host 18th Central Hardwood Forest Conference The 18th Central Hardwood Forest Conference will be cohosted by the Division and USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station in Morgantown, WV March 26-28, 2012. The Conference is dedicated to the sustainability and improvement of the Central Hardwood forest ecosystems; the objective of the conference is to bring together forest managers and scientists to discuss research and issues concerning ecology and management. Topic areas range broadly among the complex components of ecosystem health and management. Typical areas of presentations include forest ecology and physiology, silviculture, harvesting and utilization, forest biometrics, stand dynamics, modeling, biofuels and bioenergy, climate change, GIS and remote sensing, forest economics, policy, invasive species, wildlife management, soils, hydrology, and urban forestry. Submissions for this year’s conference have closed, but there is still time to register to attend. You can find more information at this link: CHC2012 or by email at

Division Scientists Continue to Advance Biomass Research Researchers in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources continue to advance biomass research in the interests of ecology and regional economies. Biorefining magazine recently profiled the work of Drs. Jinxing Wang and Kaushlendra Singh, lead investigators working toward development of coal-woody biomass hybrid feedstock that could maximize the combined mineral and agricultural resources of coal-producing southeastern states. Success in developing ways to integrate coal and wood and turn it into liquid fuel will result in more environmentally friendly energy source, addressing climate change issues and granting states already rich in both resources, like West Virginia and Kentucky, the ability to secure unique niches in emerging energy markets. “People need to realize there are benefits and new businesses that can be developed based on renewable resources we have available here” said Jingxin Wang, Professor, Chair of Wood Science & Technology, and Director of Biomaterials & Wood Utilization Research Center. “That is something people need to know. We have a lot of biomass here, a renewable resource, and a lot of coal. Biomass can also mitigate greenhouse gas emissions with coal. There’s a lot of potential.” The national capacity to produce fuel from biomass will depend on the development of regional biorefineries that work with locally produced feedstock. Diversity of fuel sources will be key to meeting increasing demand. The corn-based ethanol increasingly produced in the Midwest is but one source of bioenergy and by itself will never be adequate to meet national demands. Multiple regional refineries working with locally abundant resources, however, may significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Biomass fuels will not entirely supplant fossil fuels, but a biomass-coal combination may increase available energy resources while lessening the amount of fossil fuels consumed and emissions released. “In West Virginia we have abundant coal resources and a huge Appalachian forest to supply large amounts of biomass, “ says Dr. Kaushlendra Singh. “We are in perfect shape to take advantage of our existing resources.” Regarding concerns about the inclusion of fossil fuels, Singh notes that “If you add 20 to 30 percent biomass, you are tapping into that 28 percent consumption and will reduce greenhouse gasses by the percentage of biomass you put in.” Singh describes the hybrid feedstock as looking a lot like a piece of M&M candy, the combination of coal and woody biomass into one form with an inner and outer shell that could be used in a wide range of energy operations. Forest Branchlines 5

New Peace Corps Master’s International Program began with Fall Semester As the Peace Corps celebrates its 50th anniversary, WVU and the Division are preparing to welcome its first participants in the new Peace Corps Master’s International program in sustainable forestry and natural resource management in the fall semester. “The WVU PCMI partnership is the first of its type for any college or university in West Virginia,” says Associate Provost of Graduate Studies, Dr. Jonathan Cumming. “The program will support WVU’s commitment to expanding international engagement and provide unique service learning opportunities for our students. “ The PCMI program will integrate across a variety of WVU graduate degrees in natural resources and the environment offered through the Davis College, including Agronomy, Forest Management, Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, or Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources. Students will also select from concentration areas in Aquaculture, Natural Resources Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Agro-Forestry, Sustainable Tourism and Development, Water Resource Management, and Wildlife Conservation. “We are extremely excited and proud to be able to offer this opportunity to WVU students,” said Todd Petty, Coordinator for the program and Associate Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources. “Students will be able to apply the things they’ve learned at WVU while serving overseas and see the benefits as they help develop sustainable, community-based strategies.” “Students will be able to apply the things they’ve learned at WVU while serving overseas and see the benefits as they help develop sustainable, community-based strategies,” says Dr. Todd Petty, coordinator for the Peace Corps MI program at WVU and Associate Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Students will also benefit from having a global experience, living and working in a different culture and building the adaptability and vision that can result.” Although currently centered within the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, organizers of the program expect the number of participating departments on the WVU campus to grow substantially over time. “The body of faculty who teach and conduct research in environmental and conservation sciences is one of our greatest strengths at WVU,” adds Dr. Jim Anderson, Professor and Director of the WVU Environmental Research Center. “The PCMI program is an important step in continuing to build off of this strength.” Informational events were held in March to spread the word about the new program among potential recruits. In honor of the Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary, Morgantown Mayor and former Peace Corps volunteer Bill Byrne declared March “Peace Corps Month” and addressed attendees at one of the information sessions. For more information on WVU’s Peace Corps Master’s International program, visit or call the Division office at (304) 293-2941.

Alumnus named Chief of Ohio Division of Wildlife David B. Lane, who earned his master’s degree in Forestry (Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, 1987) from WVU, was recently named chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Lane previously served as a District Manager in central Ohio and was appointed to the new position by David Mustine, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). “David’s career reflects a diverse background in conservation and business, as well as experience with law enforcement and proven leadership within the Division. He will be an asset helping the Division fulfill its core mission as well as strengthening our internal and external partnerships to promote outdoor recreation opportunities and management of public lands. As chief of the Division of Wildlife, Lane will oversee Ohio’s fish and wildlife management programs, as well as management of more than 170,000 acres of state wildlife areas, 2.25 million acres of Lake Erie and 451 miles of the Ohio River. A native of West Virginia, Lane was hired by the Ohio Division of Wildlife in 2002 as a wildlife officer and was promoted to Wildlife Officer Supervisor in 2005 and names as acting District One manager. For 14 years, he worked for Appalachian Timber Services, Inc. in West Virginia and served as vice president of that company.

Alumnus Sara Miller Shares Knowledge as Kanawha State Forest Naturalist Summer naturalist Sara Miller has made Kanawha State Forest near Charleston, W.Va., part of every stage of her life, and this summer she is giving back some of her hiking and birding experiences to the public. "I'm getting to share my love of nature with anyone who would like to join me," Miller said. "I have been following various family members around in the woods since I could walk. Being low to the ground, I was a great help on morel hunts with my dad when I was very young. I was fascinated by the world outside the window at my grandparents' house, and that's where my papaw started teaching me the names of the birds that came to his feeders. I am fortunate to have grown up in a time where I would be made to leave the house in the morning, run around outside all day and a few hours of the night with all my cousins, and come in after dark jabbering about lightening bugs. I can still feel the dew on my feet. I am blessed to have such a memorable childhood in the hills of West Virginia." Miller shares her nature study with children and adults on weekends at Kanawha State Forest. She is also an employee of A All Animal Control of Charleston, a company resolving wildlife conflicts through sound wildlife management techniques. A 2010 graduate of West Virginia University in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, Sara Miller is a Charleston native. Activities and programs at Kanawha State Forest are nature based. For more information, call 304-558-3500 or visit online at Weekend program activities are posted under the Events tab. Programs are open to the public. 6 Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University

In Memoriam John Hamilton, PhD. (Emeritus)

Professor Emeritus John R. Hamilton, Ph.D., passed away at the age of 86 on Monday, May 9, 2011 at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. Born April 22, 1925, in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Hamilton served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He earned his BS Degree and Masters Degree from the University of GA and his PhD from NC State University. John taught at the University of Georgia prior to moving to Morgantown in 1964. He was a Professor in the Division of Forestry at WVU for 23 years before retiring in 1987 and remains beloved by many colleagues and alumni for his many contributions to the Division. Dr. Hamilton taught wood anatomy, wood machining, adhesion and finishing. He took pride in his teaching and enjoyed transmitting technical, creative and safety skills to his students. Dr. Hamilton began the Division practice of week-long industry field trips at the end of the Spring semester and was a long-time advisor to the student chapter of the Forest Products Research Society, which he cofounded with Dr. Chris Koch. He was a skilled woodworker and enjoyed gardening and early American tool collecting, but his real passion was for his family, and he cherished the relationship he had with his wife, children and spouses, and grandchildren. Dr. Hamilton was surrounded by family during his final moments. He is survived by his loving family which includes his wife of 64 years, Mary Jane Hamilton, a son, David Starke Hamilton and wife, Laurie, of Mechanicsburg, PA, a daughter, Celia Jane Reed and husband, Michael, of Atlanta, GA, his four grandchildren, Karen and Brian Hamilton of Mechanicsburg, PA, Joshua and Jessica Reed of Atlanta, GA, and two step grandchildren, Kimberly Mahoney and Michael James of Mechanicsburg, PA. Memorial donations may be made in Dr. Hamilton’s memory to the Hamilton Family Award, a scholarship awarded annually to a Wood Science and Technology student. Checks should be made payable to and mailed to the WVU Division of Forestry, PO Box 6125, Morgantown, WV 26506. Note on the memo line of your check that the gift is for the “Hamilton Family Award”.

Ila Nadine Coble

Ila Nadine Coble, daughter of Dean and Theresa Coble of Nacodoches, Texas, passed away on January 8, 2011 at the family farm in Bosque County, TX. She was four years old. Dean and Theresa Coble both taught in the Division for several years before moving to Texas for positions at Stephen F. Austin State University. Friends wishing to make a memorial contribution have two options: 1) The Ila Coble Memorial Scholarship, c/o SFA Alumni Association, P.O. Box 6096, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75962 (make checks payable to the "SFA Alumni Association," subject line: Ila Coble Memorial Scholarship) or 2) The Community Healing Garden, c/o SFA Gardens, P.O. Box 13000, Nacogdoches, Texas, 75962 (make checks payable to "SFA Gardens," subject line: Ila Coble/Community Healing Garden). Donations may also be made online through the ATCOFA at http://

Fletcher Ralph Parsons Mr. Fletcher Ralph Parsons, 84, of Poca passed away on November 16, 2010, at his home, surrounded by his loving family. Fletcher was founder and owner of Appalachian Log Structures, Ripley. He was a 1944 Poca High School graduate and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from WVU in 1950. He was active in his community serving on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Cross Lanes, City National Bank and Rock Branch Community Bank. He helped organize the Cross Lanes Community Association, served on the Putnam County Building Commission and served as Trustee and Finance Committee Chairman of Cross Lanes United Methodist Church, of which he was a member since 1956. In 2001 Fletcher raised funds and donated log home building materials to construct the Poca Library, and in 2003 he received the Jefferson Award for his efforts, a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public volunteerism in America. Fletcher was also chosen as the 2005 Outstanding Alumnus of WVU's division of Forestry. Mr. Parsons is survived by his wife Suzanne Parsons; four children, eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Linda Kay Tomkowski

Linda Kay Chetock Tomkowski passed away on September 18, 2011 at her home in Morgantown after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 64. Linda was born on May 29, 1947 in Weirton, WV. Linda was the wife of Division Professor Anthony C. Tomkowski, with whom she shared 43 years of marriage, and was a respected friend and supporter of the Division. Linda was a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church; she had worked as an administrator at the former St. Francis High School and as a teacher at Morgantown High School and University High School. She is survived by her husband, two daughters Shelley Ann Shaffer and Melissa Lynn Forman, their spouses, and four granddaughters, Ashley Michelle Shaffer, Caitlyn Elise Shafer, Hannah Katherine Shaffer and Grace Jillian Forman, a sister, a brother and several nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Linda’s name to the Band Booster Program of Central Preston Middle School, 16775 Veterans Memorial Highway, Kingwood, WV 26537 or St. Francis Central Catholic Grade School, One Guthrie Lane, Morgantown, WV 26508.

Make a Lasting Difference through Planned Giving Know how many faculty and staff it takes to make sure that WVU’s wildlife and fisheries resources, forest resources management, recreation, parks and tourism, and wood science and technology programs work well these days? It’s an impressive number – 69. Everyone works hard to assure that these quality programs continue to benefit students and provide up-to-date information to those in the state and region. To keep the programs in top-notch condition, private support is truly necessary and your Make a Difference in the Lives That Follow help is needed. Many appreciate that they can leave a legacy that will enhance these vital educational programs. One option is to include a gift provision in your will or trust with the special wording of: “to the WVU Foundation for the benefit of the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design’s Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.” You may specify that your gift is to be used for a new scholarship, faculty development purposes, technology upgrades, or library resources. All are definitely needed. Another useful option is to name the WVU Foundation as the beneficiary of either a retirement account or a life insurance policy. An agreement with the Foundation covering how the funds will benefit the Division in the future is also important. Completing any of these gift arrangements does not affect how your assets are used during your lifetime. As one who values what the great outdoors do for all of us, you can appreciate the value of strong educational programs to help future WVU students follow in your own footsteps. Contact Vicki Ginn, director of development, at 304-293-6686 or to make it work. Forest Branchlines 7


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Autumn 2011


Wood Preservation Services at WVU The Division’s Jeff Slahor is a wood preservation scientist with academic and industrial experience in wood treatment testing and evaluation. The Division possesses a pressure-treatment lab and other resources that are available to assist companies and individuals in developing and carrying out both established and experimental preservation treatment methods. Mr. Slahor is an experienced technician, researcher and consultant. Beginning with work in the University of Maine’s Wood Science program investigating the preservative treatment of red spruce as well as the remedial treatment of standing utility poles using diffusible preservatives, he was hired by the AHC to fill a position geared to assisting the state and regional wood preservative industry. He has carried out both extension type ad hoc work as well as longer term research revolving around the preservative treatment and durability of treated Appalachian hardwoods, as well as work on related topics. Wood preservation has been a tremendous step forward from a conservation point of view; this makes it a "green option". In the days before commercial preservation, a railway tie might last 5 years. Following the widespread application of creosote treatment, tie life was extended five-fold. More effective, cost efficient, and more marketable preservatives are always good business considerations. Our service can provide an extremely quick turnaround time for a company looking for basic information on preservatives or how a new preservative system works with different species or varies with different treatment parameters. Longer term, more involved studies are also an option for companies looking for extended performance data such as durability. Nondisclosure agreements can be a part of any work we do. As always, WVU is an independent third party testing agency.

Forest Branchlines Fall 2011  

News from the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources of the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, an...