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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

    ENROLL IN THE ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY

    Are you new to forestry and land management? Need a good primer on forest management concepts and next steps? Hard to fit travel for tours and workshops in your busy schedule? Need a course in a self-paced format that you can take on your own time?  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 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.


    CHECK OUT THE NEW PROFOREST “PODFOREST” PODCAST

    Immerse yourself in the world of forestry through extension as ProForest coordinator Dr. Tyler Carney hosts guests to talk about all things forestry. Listeners can join each episode to listen to a new guest and learn about different forestry topics. Curated for private forest landowners but interesting to all, this podcast was created as an Extension product of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

    Learn more about the PodForest podcast and listen to available episodes..


    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


    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


    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. 


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    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.


     

    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.


    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)
    May 29

    Madison County Landowner Cooperative Group Meeting
    10:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT, UF/IFAS Extension Madison County, 184 NW College Loop, Madison, FL 32340. Join us to hear how fellow landowner, Larry Perrin, offers outdoor learning experiences to youth through the Youth Hunt Program (and how you can too!). Also learn from FWC Deer Biologist, Becky Peters, about how chronic wasting disease can pose risk to Florida’s deer. Please RSVP to Megan Ellis, Megan.Ellis@MyFWC.com.

    May 29

    Do You Want to Grow Blueberries? Blueberry Seminar & Field Tour
    11:30 am to 2:30 pm ET, UF/IFAS Taylor Co. Extension Office 203 Forest Park Dr, Perry, FL 32348. This seminar is for anyone wanting to grow blueberries whether in the backyard or starting a cash crop. Get a primer on all aspects of blueberry production: fertilizer, irrigation, varieties, and harvesting. After the presentation, we will travel to a local  grower to see diverse varieties, management strategies, and pruning techniques. See link above for details and registration.

    June 5

    Spring 2024 Hops Field Day
    9:30 am to 2:30 pm ET at UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 CR 672, Wimauma, FL 33598. Join us for a hands-on field day to learn everything about Florida hops! This event will feature a tour of our research hopyard, a harvest demonstration, presentations by UF researchers, panel discussion, and beer tasting. You will learn how to grow hops in Florida and their brewing values for craft beer. See link above for details and registration.

    June 8

    Elderberry Field Day
    9:00 am to 11:00 am ET at UF/IFAS North FL Research and Education Center - Suwannee Valley (Farm), 8202 County Road 417, Live Oak, FL 32060. The program will include presentations in the conference room and a walk through the elderberry plots. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information contact Kevin Athearn, athearn@ufl.edu, (386) 219-4262.

    June 11

    Landowners Assistance Expo
    8:30 am to 2:00 pm ET, UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County, 4509 George Boulevard, Sebring, FL 33875. Provided by Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Featuring Technical Assistance, Cost-share Opportunities, Conservation Easements, Financial Management Implications, Land Management Plans, and more. See link above for details and registration. 

    June 20

    South Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society General Meeting
    8:30 am to 12:00 pm ET, Lee County Hyacinth Control District, 15191 Homestead Road, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971. Attend for updates on several topics including insect control, ponds management, managing herbicide resistance, and public education. 4 DACS CEUs approved in CORE, public health, aquatic, natural areas, and right-of-way. See link above for details and registration.

    June 25

    Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA) Summit 2024
    9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Long Key Nature Center, 3501 SW 130th Ave Davie, FL 33330. Join us at the 2024 Everglades Invasive Species Summit to learn how to protect our ecosystem from harmful species. See link above for available details and registration. 

    August 27-29

    2024 Florida Forestry Association Annual Meeting
    Mark your calendar. Venue to be announced, Amelia Island, FL. Details will be posted on the Florida Forestry Association website


    West Florida Events

    WEST FLORIDA (Jefferson County and west)
    May 31

    Panhandle Cattlemen’s College Pasture Class
    8:00 am to 3:00 pm CT at UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center at Marianna. This Pasture Class will be a one-day, hands-on class that will allow participants to practice everything that is taught in a field setting. Bring your boots and fencing gloves. See link above for details and registration.


    Webinars / Online Training / Virtual Events

     
    May 28

    Forestry Webinar: Expanding Forestry Markets – How is it done?
    1:00 pm ET. Learn about the fundamentals of business recruitment and the essentials for wood-based industry site selection. Recruiting businesses, especially wood-based businesses requires evaluations of possible industrial properties or sites, an analysis of the forest inventory, knowledge of existing industry locations as well as workforce and more. Join this webinar to increase your understanding of the process of recruiting businesses for forestry and more. This is the second webinar in a series on wood-based economic development. See link above for details and to join.

    May 30

    Forestry Webinar: NRCS Practice 336 Soil C Amendment: Building Soil C and Improving Soil Health with Biochar
    11:00 am ET. The US Forest Service in partnership with the US Biochar Initiative and the Southern Regional Extension Forestry will be presenting its latest Biochar Webinar. See link above for details and to join.

    June 6

    Florida Women Landowners Association: Virtual Open House / Programs Available to Landowners 101  
    7:00 to 8:00 pm EDT. Landowners and resource partners are invited to join us for an hour of fun with this expanding group of women landowners. After a short presentation that will introduce us to educational and financial assistance programs available to private landowners (scratching the surface of connections to follow!), we’ll share a recap of FWLA’s recent events, peek at what is to come, and discuss how we can provide you with topics of your interest. A registration link will be available soon. Please send questions or request to FWLA.contact@gmail.com.

    June 12

    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Meeting
    9:00 am to 12:00 pm ET. Participation in the meeting is open to the public and will be available through a combination of in-person and remote participation. In-person attendance is limited to up to 30 members of the committee and NRCS employees at the NRCS state office, located at 4500 NW 27th Avenue, Building A, Gainesville, FL 32606. All other stakeholders may attend the meeting virtually. See the link above for details.

    June 20

    Conservation Webinar: USDA Conservation Efforts Supporting Pollinators, Agricultural Production Nationwide
    2:00 pm ET. Dr. Elissa Olimpi will share findings on the value of pollinator practices applied through voluntary conservation programs including the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program. See link above for details and to join.

    June 25

    Forestry Webinar: The Fundamentals of Workforce Development in Forestry
    2:00 pm ET. Gain insights on forestry workforce challenges and solutions. This is the third webinar in a series on Wood-based Economic Development. See link above for details and to join.

    June 25

    Conservation Webinar: Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States - The Importance of Persistence
    2:00 pm ET. Details about this presentation will be shared at the link above when available.

    -Featured On Demand Prerecorded Webinars-

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar Series

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar: Building a Resilient Operation
    Provided by the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program with support from National Wildlife Federation, Florida Forest Service, Farm Credit Associations of Florida and other partners. We discuss a range of considerations and systems that landowners can put in place to increase their resilience facing hurricanes and other potential disasters. Recorded April 15, 2021.

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar: Casualty Loss Tax Deduction and Determining Your Basis
    Casualty events may include hurricane, fire, earthquake, tornado, hail, flood, or ice storm. For investment and business owners, the deductible casualty loss is the lesser of the adjusted basis of the property or the decrease in fair market value due to the loss. This webinar will help you better understand casualty loss deduction and how to determine your basis. Presented by Dr. Tamara Cushing, Forest Business Specialist at UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. Recorded June 1, 2023

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar: Prepare for the Storm
    Hurricane season begins June 1. Take some important steps to prepare your property for the next storm. Topics include important resources, assessing risk, documentation, protecting property, and contacts to have lined up ahead of a hurricane or other disaster. Presented by Chris Demers, Extension Program Manager at UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Science. Recorded June 15, 2023.

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar: USDA Disaster Recovery Assistance Programs
    Provided by UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program and Florida partners in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This webinar will give a brief overview of the disaster assistance programs USDA FSA offers, steps to take in advance to make the enrollment process as efficient as possible, and how to find your local USDA service center. Note that SAF CFEs are not approved for the recording. Recorded June 22, 2023.

    Hurricane Preparation & Recovery Webinar: Recovering from the Storm
    Provided by the UF/IFAS Florida Land Steward Program, in this webinar we discusses key assistance contacts and strategies to recover value and minimize economic losses to timber within a week and months after a hurricane. Presented by Chris Demers, Extension Program Manager, UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. Recorded August 24, 2023.

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

    *** UF/IFAS ONLINE FOREST LANDOWNER ACADEMY ***


     

Florida Land Steward News Updates

Florida Land Steward Update, May 17, 2024

ENDANGERED SPECIES DAY The third Friday in May is Endangered Species Day, a tradition started by the Endangered Species Coalition in 2006. In Florida we recognize and celebrate the...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION

Florida Land Steward Update, May 10, 2024

THANKS TO ALL JOINING US FOR RONNIE STEPHENSON TOUR IN JACKSON COUNTY Thanks to all who participated in the tour at the property of Ronnie Stephenson, our 2024 Florida Land Steward of the Year, last week in Jackson County. We enjoyed a great day...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION

Florida Land Steward Update, April 24, 2024

EARTH WEEK Earth Day, April 22, marked the beginning of Earth Week. This week we recognize and celebrate the bounty of our planet’s resources and natural systems, and also affirm our role in sustaining them for future...
READ MORE | RELATED INFORMATION