Timber to truffles: West Virginia workshops in traditional and special forest products

2005 Annual Report for ENE03-077

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $61,614.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
David McGill
WVU Appalachian Hardwood Center

Timber to truffles: West Virginia workshops in traditional and special forest products

Summary

In recent times, there has been an explosion of information and markets for special forest products (medicinal herbs, mushrooms, natural textiles, etc.). West Virginia has habitats that are ideal for many of these woodland medicinals and specialty products, many of which have a long established tradition of being important forest commodities. This proposal will to provide training in traditional and special forest products to 80 extension agents, West Virginia Division of Forestry service foresters, NRCS technical staff and associates, and West Virginia Conservation Service Supervisors and staff over the course of two years—40 in the first year and 40 in the second year. These targeted beneficiaries will generate a total of 16 extra workshops within two years of their respective attendance at the Timber to Truffles workshops.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Training in traditional and special forest products to 80 extension agents, West Virginia Division of Forestry service foresters, NRCS technical staff and associates, and West Virginia Conservation Service Supervisors and staff over the course of two years—40 in the first year and 40 in the second year.

2. At least 10 percent (4 beneficiaries) of these 80 workshop attendees will sponsor woodlot trainings or seminars within a year of completing the training workshop and a total of 20 percent (8 beneficiaries) do this within two years. Hence, the targeted beneficiaries will generate a total of 16 extra workshops.

Accomplishments/Milestones

1. 200 individuals contacted through advertising, 40 register for workshop 1st year.

2. 4 “initial” participants will facilitate a workshop between July 2004-July 2005. This will be assessed by a follow-up survey.

The follow-up survey (49% response) found that two of the 33 workshop participants had coordinated other nontimber forest products workshops between July 2004 and July 2005. A third individual coordinated a forest walk that highlighted nontimber forest products. Still another individual, who is developing a tree identification software program, began to include nontimber forest products into that program.

3. 200 individuals contacted through advertising, 40 register for workshop 2nd year.

The 2005 Timber to Truffles workshop was well attended with 42 participants. A total of 13 of these participants were from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, three were WVU Extension Service personnel, three were from university forestry departments, and one each from USDA Forest Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Great Cacapon Resource Conservation District, and the West Virginia Conservation Agency. The remaining 19 individuals attending the training were Coverts/Master Forestland owner volunteers.

4. Four “new” and 4 “initial” participants will facilitate a workshop between July 2005-July 2006. This will be assessed by a follow-up survey.

Will be assessed in August 2006.

5. Four “new” participants will facilitate a workshop between July 2006-July 2007.

Will be assessed in August 2007.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The follow-up survey of the 2004 Timber to Truffles participants showed that two individual have facilitated workshops on nontimber forest products. One of the workshops demonstrated shiitake mushroom production and the other was a meeting for ginseng growers. Other participants are engaged in nontimber forest products activities, for example, 47% of the survey respondents indicated continued work with raising shiitake mushrooms.