MFA Executive Director steps down after 16 1/2 years

Karin Miller
Leave a Legacy ~ 

       As I write to you for the last time, I find it fitting that this issue of THE CROSSCUT includes Champ’s address from this year’s Arbor Day celebrations.  When I look back over the 16 years that I have served as your Executive Director, and only staff for MFA, I see many parallels in my experience and that of a tree.  
        As a graduate forester (SUNY ESF ‘81), I remember enough from my silvics and silviculture courses to know that there is much more to a healthy tree and forest than just the planting ~ there is also the site selection, site prep, nurturing, pruning, thinning, harvest and succession.  The natural world is filled with cycles that begin over and over again.  Each of these have their counterparts in the world of association management.
       To sum up in just a few words what these years have meant to me is challenging.  As a former teacher I can state that  in many ways I’ve learned much more than I’ve taught.  I appreciate the many within MFA and associated groups that mentored me at various stages as my position with MFA evolved from an administrative assistant to that of Executive Director.  I thank the leadership and membership for their patience and encouragement as we’ve learned together along the way. 
MFA is a very diverse organization and the additional challenges which that creates can also strengthen it.  Through my recent time at the gym I’ve learned first-hand the adage “no pain ~ no gain”.  Change generally is difficult and maybe even painful, but growth won’t happen without it.
      My decision to resign was not an easy one, but one whose time had come.  As I reflect on the time that has passed since the unexpected death of our oldest son last spring, I know that there are other paths of service that God wants me to explore. He’s been pruning me and training me up for a new purpose.  I want to be able to give that, whatever it may be, my full attention and energy. 
I also wanted to be sure that there was a successful “succession” as I left.  I believe Jessika brings with her exactly the skills, talents and enthusiasm that MFA needs as it moves beyond celebrating its 35th year of service to the Maryland forest community.  As she and I complete the transition this week, I trust that you will give her your full support as she assists MFA’s leadership in the coming months.
May God be with You ‘til we meet again.
Karin E. Miller , MFA Executive Director
January 1995 to May 2011

SFI Applauds USDA Announcement Promoting Wood in Green Building

WASHINGTON – SFI praised Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s announcement last month promoting the use of wood as a green building material. Secretary Vilsack noted that “wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials.”

SFI and a diverse coalition of organizations had called on USDA to adopt a more inclusive approach to green building, including recognizing multiple green building rating systems and encouraging the use of wood products from responsibly managed forests. “SFI has invested an enormous amount of energy into constructively raising awareness of the need for green building rating tools to recognize the contribution of wood as a natural and environmentally-responsible renewable resource.  We thank Secretary Vilsack for his leadership and for sending a message that the Administration is serious about the role wood can play in supporting green building initiatives, rural communities, and the overall sustainability of the forest sector.  The USDA strategy makes it clear that opportunities for wood and choice in green building rating tools are part of the solution,” stated SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative was honored to be a sponsor at the International Year of Forests celebration yesterday evening where Secretary Vilsack laid out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green building practices. The plan includes the following parts:

1.       The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama's executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
2.       The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials.
3.       The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.

Abusow noted, “SFI is excited to see the explicit recognition of the Green Globes standard and the National Green Building Standard, both of which recognize multiple forest certification standards including SFI. Opening the door to other green building rating systems increases opportunities for third party certified wood to be used and recognized in green buildings.”

About SFI Inc.
SFI Inc. is an independent 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization, and is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program ( Across North America, more than 180 million acres/73 million hectares are certified to the SFI forest management standard, making it the largest single standard in the world. SFI chain-of-custody certification tells buyers how much certified, responsibly sourced and/or recycled content is in a product. The SFI program’s unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers’ lands. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally.

March is here and it’s time to think about spring planting!

Native trees can be ordered through Tree-Mendous Maryland for plantings on public lands.
The Spring Order Form is available by clicking here or by using this link:
(Trees are available until sold out)

Need larger sizes, other species or supplies?
The Special Order Form is available by clicking here or by using this link:
(Place your "Specials" order no later than 3/15)

Trees can be delivered to Greenbriar SP (Western), Tuckahoe SP (Eastern) or Cedarville SF (Southern) at no cost, but you must order before 4/4.

If you would like trees to plant in your yard, Marylanders Plant Trees is the program for you!
 Visit a participating nursery and use your $25 off coupon to purchase a tree from the recommended tree list valued at $50 or more. After you plant, don’t forget to register your trees for a chance to win some great prizes!

If you can't plant a tree, consider giving the Gift of Trees.

Lindsay Major
Maryland DNR Forest Service
Register all newly planted trees today!

Updating Forest Management Plans

The 2010 - 2015 AFF Standards have updated management plan requirements. Plans are required to address the following resource elements: forest health, soil, water, wood and fiber production, threatened and endangered species, special sites, invasive species, integrated pest management, and high conservation value forests. If a resource element is not present on the property or relevant to its management, plans should state that clearly.

 Example: The plan writer has checked the threatened and endangered species database available in their state and seen that there are no documented occurrences of a threatened or endangered species on the Tree Farm. The plan should include a brief statement on the results of the plan writer's research and the date completed.

ATFS has developed a management plan addendum to help update current management plans to the new Standards. Please visit for a copy of the addendum.
Landowners and plan writers are always encouraged to update plans frequently using informal notes and comments.

Deer killed in Green Ridge tests positive for chronic wasting disease

February 11, 2011 
GREEN RIDGE — A white-tailed deer killed by a hunter in Green Ridge State Forest in November has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, making this the first known case in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Thursday.   Follow link for full story off of DNR website

Upcoming Forest Stewardship Education Program webinars

The University of Maryland Extension, Forest Stewardship Education Program, announces the following webinars being offered in February, 2011:

February 15, 2011; 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., EST

Emerging and Current Forest Threats in Maryland

This webinar will focus on emerging and current forest threats in Maryland with a special focus on Thousand Cankers Disease and Emerald Ash Borer.  For each of these threats, damage and identification will be discussed as well as what action should be taken if you suspect a forest threat in your woodland.

This webinar will be presented by the following University of Maryland Extension Educators and Specialists:

·         Nevin Dawson, Forestry Stewardship Educator
·         Stanton Gill, Regional Extension Specialist, Nursery & Greenhouse Management
·         Karen Rane, Director of Plant Clinic & Extension Specialist
There is no charge for participation, but registration is required.  Use the link below to register online.  Webinar details and access will be emailed at a later date.  A recording will be available shortly after the webinar takes place.

February 23, 2011; 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., EST and 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., EST.

Options for Converting Lawn to Natural Areas
From the Publication, The Woods in Your Backyard

Stop mowing!  Enjoy the benefits of converting lawn to a natural area.  By establishing or enlarging a natural area on your property, you can improve wildlife habitat and water quality, reduce noise and air pollution, and create a place to enjoy the outdoors.  Spring is around the corner and now is the time to begin planning a natural area on your land.

This webinar will be presented by Jonathan Kays, Natural Resource Extension Specialist and author of the publication, The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home.  For more information on this publication and educational program go to 

There is no charge for participation, but registration is required.  Use the links below to register online.  Webinar details and access will be emailed at a later date.  A recording will be available shortly after the webinar takes place.
Register online:

If you have any problems registering for these webinars, contact Pam Thomas at 301-432-2767 x315 or

Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Responsible Personnel Certification Program for Erosion and Sediment Control

(“Green Card” Class)

Sponsored by the Allegany Soil Conservation District

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 (8:00AM – 12:30PM)

$20.00 per person

Allegany College of Maryland Continuing Education Building Room CE-8
State law requires that any responsible personnel involved in grading or other soil disturbing activities be knowledgeable about sediment and erosion control principles and to have a certificate of attendance at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) approved training program (“Green Card “ class).

Pre-registration is required for this course. Please complete the bottom portion of this form and return to Allegany Soil Conservation District, 12407 Naves Cross Road NE, Cumberland, MD 21502, along with your check payable to Allegany SCD. Any questions, please call Craig Hartsock at 301-777-1747 ext. 108. NOTE: Loggers can obtain the required training by attending this session.

DNR Signs Groundbreaking Memorandum Of Understanding Dedicated To Healthy, Keeping Productive Forests

Annapolis, Md. (January 24, 2011) —
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding with six other federal and state agencies dedicated to keeping healthy and productive forests throughout the State.

“By improving how our partnerships function, and improving how we plan the delivery of our respective programs, we anticipate the forest landowner will get better service and working landscapes will benefit,” said Steve Koehn, State Forester for DNR. “Better forest management results in more benefits for all Marylanders: healthy forests boost local economies, clean our air, filter our water, regulate temperatures, provide habitat for wildlife and provide pleasant green-scapes for our everyday activities.”

The other partnering agencies include: the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards; the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts; the Maryland Department of Agriculture; the University of Maryland Extension; and the United States Departments of Agriculture - Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Under this agreement, the agencies will work together to be more effective in providing forest owners and managers with technical and financial assistance to improve the health, diversity and production of forests on privately owned lands — 76 percent of all forests in Maryland.

follow link to full article

The full text of the memorandum is available at

Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Industry in Garrett County

Upcoming Educational Programs:University of Maryland Extension Logo

New! Brown Bag Series Hosted by UMD Extension

University of Maryland Extension in Garrett County will host a series of lunchtime educational meetings beginning in February 2011. The round table forum will encourage open discussion of issues related to Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling. The video, Shale Gas and America's Future, produced by the American Clean Skies Foundation (an industry-based foundation), will be viewed and discussed during the February sessions.

February's forums are designed for those eager to gain a basic understanding of the potential environmental and economic impacts of the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling process.

Feel free to bring your lunch to enjoy while watching the video.

Please contact Mikal Zimmerman at 301-334-6960 by February 18th to reserve a seat at your preferred location. Dates are subject to change due to inclement weather.

UME Brown Bag Lunch Forum
McHenry at
Garrett College
February 22, 2011
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Friendsville at Friendsville Rescue Squad
February 23, 2011
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Oakland at University of Maryland Extension Office
February 24, 2011
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Ocean City opens poll on how to rebuild boardwalk

Ocean City officials are asking beach fans for their opinions on how the town should rebuild the resort's iconic boardwalk. While there are public hearings set for March 7, the town has opened an online poll to gather more input on three options.

The approaches under consideration include an all-wood surface; a wood surface with a plain concrete tram lane; and a wood surface with a concrete tram lane stamped to look like wood.

Repairs and replacements are needed because of years of weathering, and wear accelerated by the trams and other heavy vehicles. The poll is available at, and at

Webinar - Your Land Your Legacy…February 16

The average age of a woodland owner is over 60 years old.  In the coming years, a large percentage of woodland owners will need to make decisions about the future of their land.  Land is often a landowner’s most valuable financial asset. However, land is not like other assets. Because land can be connected to memories, experiences, and feelings not normally associated with assets such as stocks and bonds, your land may also have significant personal value. Deciding what to do with your land brings with it the challenge of providing for the financial and personal needs of you and your family.  

The good news is that land is a flexible asset that lends itself to creative solutions for gaining financial and personal value.  The ForestConnect Webinar Series continues on February 16, 2011 with Paul Catanzaro of the University of Massachusetts who will give the presentation “Your Land, Your Legacy:  Deciding the Future of Your Land.”  This webinar will discuss the role of estate planning as it pertains to land and its conservation, provide tips on family communication towards goal setting for the land, outline the professionals that woodland owners should seek for assistance, and learn from the stories of other woodland owners.  This webinar will not provide direct legal advice to owners, but will prepare owners and their families to start the estate planning process.  Supplemental reading for this webinar can be found at  

MFA's 2011 Legislative Notebook preview is now online

2011 cover
MFA's 2011 Legislative Notebook has headed to the printer and will soon be delivered to each and every legislator and executive branch leader within Maryland's government.  You can view the Notebook online in a pdf format by clicking on the title link.  Download Adobe Reader to open.

Four Key Issues for 2011
Within MFA's Legislative Notebook, are white papers (policy papers) on each of the following key issues identified for this year:
  • DIVERSIFY LOCAL ECONOMIES  - Family Forest Landowners create jobs!
  • BIOENERGY - It seems as if we forgot that wood Burns!
  • FOREST/TREE BIOTHREATS- Costing Maryland millions of dollars

ongoing threats to Maryland's forest ecology and economy

John Jastrzembski, Maryland Forests Association President, examines a bow of a hemlock tree infested by the hemlock woolly adelgid.  This Asian insect has spread throughout approximately 20 states and is now killing hemlock trees and forests in Maryland.  There are many insects and diseases that are wrecking havoc on Maryland's forest ecology and economy.