I learned about the Master Forest Owner (MFO) Program in early 2010 and it
sounded intriguing. I had owned forest land for a decade, and enjoyed
working in the woods on occasion for over 40 years. I had worked with a NYS
DEC forester and had a written management plan, but the more I learned about
forest stewardship the more I wanted to learn.
The MFO program was a perfect fit. We spent four days at Cornell’s Arnot
Forest learning about all aspects of forest management for both sawtimber
and wildlife. Fellow students were mostly NYFOA members and all shared a
love for forests. We enjoyed the classes and field trips, and were well-fed
every day. The instructors were knowledgable, enthusiastic and interesting.
Our committment to give back after the training was to make five visits to
other forest owners by December of the following year. I was able to make
six visits in 2011, and have made two 2012 visits as of March 6th. I met a
variety of interesting people and walked with them in their forests large
and small. Each forest is different, and each owner’s objectives are
different, but every one has shared the desire to get more out of their
forest ownership experience.
The MFOs are not foresters, just fellow landowners who want to share their
enthusiasm and training about forest ownership / stewardship. If you would
like to get independent inputs about your forest, contact a local MFO. If
you are willing to spend some time visiting fellow forest owners and want to
expand your knowledge of forests, I encourage you to apply for MFO training.
The training significantly broadened my understanding, and the opportunity
to share time with others in their forests has been a real treat. What
better way to sepnd a few hours a year than tramping around new woods?