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Florida Land Steward

Florida Land Steward

Florida Land Steward Calendar and News

To sign up for weekly email updates, which include the latest calendar of events, news and a link to the quarterly Florida Land Steward newsletter, send an email to cdemers@ufl.edu.

If you know of an event or news brief that should be included on this page or the news blog please send an email with the news information or event name, date, location, and contact information to cdemers@ufl.edu.

  • Ongoing Initiatives and Programs

    ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY NOW OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT

    Forest Landowners, and others in need of forest management information, are encouraged to enroll 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 and begin or continue planning and making contacts.  The cost of the course is $150. Those completing the course will earn a University of Florida Certificate of Completion.

    Enroll in the Forest Landowner Academy today:
    https://ifas-sfrc-for.catalog.instructure.com/courses/for-fla

    Questions about the course can be directed to Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu, (352) 846-2375.


    FLORIDA WOMEN LANDOWNERS ASSOCIATION (FWLA)

    Our goal is to provide opportunities for collaboration and education for all generations of women landowners in Florida. We share land stewardship resources through in-person events and virtual networking related to land ownership including farms, ranches, forests, recreation, and wildlife. Whether you have 1 acre or 1,000 – we are here for you. Keep posted on FWLA news and activities on their Facebook page


    NEW LANDOWNER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM QUAIL FOREVER BIOLOGISTS

    Quail Forever is a non-profit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation through habitat improvements, public access, education, and conservation advocacy. We are excited to have Farm Bill Biologists in Florida providing technical assistance to landowners interested in improving the health of their land for wildlife, clean water, and other important natural resources. Biologists are available to assist landowners through the application process for USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm Bill programs.

    Florida Quail Forever Biologist positions are supported through partnership with USDA NRCS Working Lands for Wildlife Framework and in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Our focus is Northern Bobwhite quail and upland habitats. Technical assistance to private landowners includes answering wildlife management questions, working with landowners to identify habitat objectives and develop wildlife habitat management plans, and connecting them to resources and applicable programs.

    Those interested in assistance can reach out to either of our Florida Quail Forever Biologists: Nicole Itzkowitz, nitzkowitz@quailforever.org based in Kissimmee (Central Florida including Lake, Sumter, Seminole, Orange, Brevard and Osceola counties) or Katie Maddox, kmaddox@quailforever.org based in Quincy (Gadsden, Leon, Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton counties). If you do not see your county listed, please contact the biologist closest to you.


    PRESCRIBED BURN ASSOCIATIONS AND PRESCRIBED BURN ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FROM TALL TIMBERS RESEARCH STATION, ALACHUA CONSERVATION TRUST, AND ATTACK-ONE FIRE MANAGEMENT SERVICES

    These organizations are available to meet onsite with landowners to discuss their goals and assist with prescribed burn prescription and implementation.

    Tall Timbers Research Station is funded by a Longleaf Legacy Landscape project to provide fire consultation and assistance with planning, and implementation to private landowners in the Florida Panhandle from Pensacola to Lake City and in west Georgia as far north as the Chattahoochee Fall Line (Columbus, GA). For more information contact Jeremy Martin at (850) 333-4776, or JMartin@talltimbers.org. Jeremy is also the coordinator for the Northwest Florida Prescribed Burn Association: Private Lands Prescribed Fire Project - Tall Timbers

    Alachua Conservation Trust has a prescribed fire specialist available to assist private landowners with burn planning in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Levy, Marion, Putnam, St. John’s,  Suwannee, Union, and portions of Citrus, Lake, Sumter, and Volusia Counties. Contact Barry Coulliette at barry@alachuaconservationtrust.org, 904-838-8591. Barry is also the Coordinator for the North Florida Prescribed Burn Association.

    Attack-One Fire Management Services, Inc. is grant-funded to assist private landowners who have current or previous NRCS contracts with prescribed fire consultation, planning and implementation throughout North Florida, Georgia and Alabama. For private landowners with previous NRCS contracts to qualify, the property must include Longleaf Pine and / or have active Gopher Tortoise habitat present. For more information contact: Kevin Carter (850) 926-6534, kevin@attack-one.com For additional information see http://www.attack-one.com

     


    ONLINE PRESCRIBED FIRE TRAINING COURSE AVAILABLE ON UF/IFAS EXTENSION CANVAS CATALOG
    This course is designed to provide individuals with knowledge and resources to better accomplish their land management goals and to cultivate fire-educated communities. Topics include: Basic Fire Knowledge, How to Implement Prescribed Fire, Air Quality & Smoke, Fire Liability & Risk Reduction, Wildlife Management, Forest Management, and more. This course is free and for educational purposes only. It is not a professional certification course. See Prescribed Fire Training | CESRxFire for more details and to enroll.


    UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA FIRE UNIVERSITY PODCASTS

    The UF Disturbance Ecology and Ecological Restoration (DEER) Lab has launched a podcast named Fire University in a podcast network called Natural Resources University. The network features four science-based podcasts with leading scientists in each topic area. Topics include Deer University focused on white-tailed deer biology and management, Habitat University focused on the science of wildlife habitat management, Pond University focused on delivering the latest science about managing fishing ponds and aquatic ecosystems, and Fire University which delivers the latest research and science on fire ecology and related wildlife and forest management.

    The Natural Resources University (NRU) podcasts are available at: https://naturalresourcesuniversity.libsyn.com/

    The Fire University Podcasts are available at: https://fireuniversity.libsyn.com/

    WILD TURKEY SCIENCE PODCAST
    Wild Turkey Science is a podcast hosted by Dr. Marcus Lashley at the University of Florida and Dr. Will Gulsby at Auburn University. The podcast is science-based and features in-depth discussion about wild turkey research and how it relates to managing your wild turkey population. Check out the Wild Turkey Science podcast here.

    These podcasts are all available on all the major podcast platforms and people can follow them @UFDEERLab and @NRUniversity where additional content related to natural resource management is posted. For more information contact Dr. Marcus Lashley, (352) 846-0870, marcus.lashley@ufl.edu   


    HURRICANE PREPARATION AND RECOVERY GUIDES FOR FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS AND LANDOWNERS

    The USDA Southeast Climate Hub with other USDA agencies and university Extension experts, have developed a set of guides for Florida agricultural producers. The guides are each tailored to a specific agricultural commodity and designed to help produces prepare for and recover from hurricane events.

    The guides are available on the USDA Southeast Climate Hub Website. Of interest to forest landowners is the Pine Forest Landowners Guide


     FLORIDA LAND STEWARD PARTNERS WEB MAP TOOL

    Use this web tool to identify resources at a local watershed scale. The map is at this link: http://viewer.apps.pflcc.databasin.org/v1/index.html. More about Florida Landscape Web Map Tool and how to use it.


    SOMETHING BUGGING YOUR TREES? - CHECK OUT THE FOREST HEALTH DIAGNOSTICS FORUM

    Hosted by a group of forest and tree health specialists with Southeastern universities and agencies, we are here to help identify pests and diseases in your forest or your backyard, and to recommend a solution, if appropriate. Join the group and report your tree health issue!

    Visit the new Forest Health Diagnostic forum on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SouthernTreeHealthDiagnostics/


    GOT AN INVASIVE SPECIES PROBLEM?

    Go to floridainvasives.org for information, assistance and partnership opportunities. Get information on all invasive taxa at UF/IFAS Invasive Species Programs


    FLORIDA FOREST SERVICE HOSTING SIMPLE SMOKE SCREENING TOOL ONLINE

    A user-friendly smoke plotting tool is now available on the Florida Forest's Fire Tools and Downloads webpage. 


    HELP 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 an opportunity to let USFWS know how many eastern diamondback rattlesnakes we are seeing in Florida.

    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. 


    REPORT QUAIL AND OTHER WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

    To help restore the state’s northern bobwhite quail populations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking private landowners to report sightings of bobwhite quail on their land. Report northern bobwhite quail sightings at MyFWC.com/QuailSighting

    The FWC also seeks reports of these species:


    LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A PARTICULAR TOPIC? AskIFAS!

    Check the vast array of extension publications available through UF/IFAS on the AskIFAS publication site: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/  Wow, there’s a publication about that


    NEED A LOAN TO FUND CONSERVATION PROJECTS? CHECK OUT THE USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY'S GUARANTEED CONSERVATION LOAN PROGRAM

    The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) guarantees loans to promote conservation practices on farms and ranches that help protect natural resources. The goal of FSA’s Conservation Loan (CL) program is to provide access to credit for farmers who need and want to implement conservation measures on their land, but do not have the “up front” funds available to implement these practices. For more information see this Conservation Loan Program Fact Sheet. Also see this table summarizing FSA farm loan opportunities.

    The Conservation Contract Program is a program for eligible landowners that protects important natural resources and other sensitive areas while providing a debt management tool. A conservation contract is available to people with Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct loans secured by real estate. These individuals may qualify for a reduction of their FSA indebtedness in exchange for a conservation contract with a term of 50, 30 or 10 years. The conservation contract is a voluntary legal agreement that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on portions of the landowner’s property. Contracts may be established on marginal cropland and other environmentally sensitive lands for conservation, recreation and wildlife purposes. For more information see this Conservation Contract Program Fact Sheet.

    The FSA provides several types of farm loans. For more information on these opportunities, see the Florida FSA Website or contact your local FSA office to speak with a local representative.


    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!

  • Upcoming Events and Webinars

    East Florida | West Florida | Webinars


    East Florida Events

    EAST FLORIDA (Madison County and all counties east and south)
    March 9

    North Florida Prescribed Burn Association General Meeting
    8:30 am to 12:00 pm,  UF Stern Learning Center at Austin Cary Forest Campus. Agenda will include Bylaws revision approval and Board of Directors election. See link above for more information about the NFPBA.

    April 5

    Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year tour at Property of Terry Putnal, Madison County
    9:00 am to 2:00 pm ET. This tour has been rescheduled to April 5, 2024. All registrations will be retained and we still have some room. Join us to meet this exemplary land steward, network with fellow landowners and professionals, and explore a diversified timber and pine straw operation. Topics include timber management, pine straw management, longleaf pine, wildlife habitat management, and conservation. Free tour but preregistration is required so we can plan for materials and lunch. Lunch will be provided by Florida Tree Farm Program. See link above for details and to register. Contact Chris at cdemers@ufl.edu for information.

    April 13

    Journey Through Watersheds (Facebook link)
    12:00 to 3:00 pm ET at Silver Springs State Park, 5656 E Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, FL 34488. Provided by Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Silver Springs State Park. and the Soil and Water
    Conservation Society, this event features educational STEM activities for all ages. Join us for the history of Silver Springs, nature writing workshops, water pledge raffle, and more. See link above for details. 

    April 16-17

    2024 FL SAF / UF SFFGS Spring Symposium: “From the Ground Up”
    University Stern Learning Center at the Austin Cary Forest Campus. Provided by the Florida Division Society of American Foresters (SAF) and the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences (SFFGS). Join us to explore reforestation and restoration techniques for various land management objectives. Details and registration are at the link above. 7.5 Cat. 1 SAF Continuing Forestry Education Credits are approved. Contact Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu for more information.

    April 26

    Groundcover Restoration & Enhancement Workshop 2024
    8:30 am to 5:00 pm ET at UF Stern Learning Center at Austin Cary Forest Campus. Join working forestry and natural resource professionals to collaborate on current topics and research related to groundcover restoration and enhancement in Florida. Two chief topics that will be discussed at this workshop are: (1) low native seed supply and availability, and (2) native groundcover enhancement within the urban matrix. Both topics will have a set of speakers and will be followed by panel led discussions. The goal is to foster collaborative dialogue on current issues and emerging topics. There will be a pre-workshop happy hour at First Magnitude Brewing Co. on April 25 at 5:30 pm to get the momentum going and conversations started early. See link above for details and registration.


    West Florida Events

    WEST FLORIDA (Jefferson County and west)
    March 8

    Northwest Florida PBA Presents: Expanding your Prescribed Burning Window - Seasonal Effects and Challenges Workshop
    9:00 am to 3:00 pm CT, UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office, 3098 Airport Rd, Crestview, FL 32539. Have you been stuck in the routine of winter burns? Do you miss getting burns in because you run out of burn days? Are you interested in starting or
    improving prescribed burn efforts on your property? If so, join us for a day of learning, networking, and discussions. Topics include expanding your burn windows, effects of burning during different times of the year, smoke management, working with other landowners to conduct prescribed burns, and cost-share opportunities. See link above for details and registration. Please register by March 1.

    April 5

    UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center at Quincy Spring Showcase
    9:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. 155 Research Rd, Quincy, FL 32351. Join us to learn about NFREC research and extension programs, eminent speakers, student competitions, farm and lab tours, industry exhibits, networking, and more. Call the Center at (850) 875-7100 for details.

    May 2

    2024 Florida Land Steward of the Year Tour at Ronne Stephenson Property, Jackson County
    9:00 am to 2 pm CT. Join us to meet Ronnie Stephenson, our 2024 Land Steward of the Year; and network with landowners, foresters, and natural resource professionals. Topics will include wildlife habitat management, controlling invasive species, upland pine management, and more. Details will be posted soon. Contact Chris Demers, cdemers@ufl.edu, (352) 846-2375 for information.


    Webinars / Online Training / Virtual Events

     
    February 26 – March 5

    ClimateCast Live
    Five digital field experiences — online, livestreamed programs — that will be conducted and assessed in partnership with UF/IFAS Extension to educate adults in Florida about climate change and calls to action, including participating in a citizen science project called ISeeChange. Each program will consist of a mix of background information, live demos, and time for Q&A. Tune in on Zoom for one hour to learn about climate impacts in Florida! All are welcome and can learn from the programs. See link above for details.

    March 5

    Woodland Stewards Webinar: Silvopasture Producers Share their Stories and Answer Questions - A Panel Discussion
    1:00 pm ET. Learn from the experiences of various silvopasture producers in this final webinar of the silvopasture series. This panel discussion will be a question-and-answer format, where participants can ask their burning questions. Each producer in this series will have presented their story in an earlier webinar. This discussion is an opportunity to follow up with your questions. See link above for details. 

    March 13

    Forestry & Natural Resources Webinar: Guide to Herbicide Application Windows during a Southern Pine Rotation to Improve Productivity
    1:00 pm ET. Dr. David Clabo, Assistant Professor of Silviculture Outreach at University of Georgia, will cover herbicide use in pine stands, including herbicide options for site preparation through mid-rotation. See link above for details and to join. 

    March 14-15

    Urban Forestry Institute: Purpose-Driven Canopy
    Presented by the Urban Forestry Council, the Urban Forestry Institute is a virtual two-day conference and training seminar for individuals involved in community or municipal urban forestry management. Speakers from across the United States and leaders from Florida’s urban forestry organizations will focus on a “Purpose-Driven Canopy.” The program will kick off with keynote speaker Alana Tucker of the Arbor Day Foundation and will include talks on community engagement, tree mitigation funds, working with planners, strategic utility forestry, social justice in the urban forest, and more. The online conference will include a mix of pre-recorded modules and live Q&A sessions with the speakers. CEUs can be earned for ISA and SAF. See link  above for details and registration.

    Recordings, links, and materials for all Florida Land Steward Program
    Events and Webinars here

    *** UF/IFAS ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY ***
    (Get 30% off registration price through February 29.  Use promotion code  SWDXWF)


     

Florida Land Steward News Updates

Florida Land Steward Update, March 1, 2024

NATIONAL INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK (NISAW), FEB. 26-MAR. 3, 2024 NISAW is a nation-wide event to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat that they pose, and what...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION

Florida Land Steward Update, February 16, 2024

CONGRATULATIONS RONNIE STEPHENSON: 2024 FLORIDA LAND STEWARD OF THE YEAR! Ronnie Stephenson’s passion for wildlife and his tenacity for hands-on habitat management goes above and beyond what would be expected of one person. In...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION

Congratulations Ronnie Stephenson: 2024 Florida Land Steward of the Year

By Nathan Bunting, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Ronnie Stephenson’s passion for wildlife and his tenacity for hands-on habitat management goes above and beyond what would be expected of one person. Ronnie grew up in the...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION