The Out of the Woods webinar series continues this Thursday night, July 20th at 7 PM out of our partner Future Generations University. The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area (AFNHA) is featuring on this month’s event and will have agroforestry experts speaking to the life of a forest and the benefits these different living organisms bring to the ecosystem. It might not be as maple-focused as it usually is, but the focus on holistic forest integrity should be integral to any maple producer’s mindset.
The AFNHA “conserves, interprets and promotes forest heritage to enhance landscapes and communities” throughout regions of Appalachia. Though their focal area are specific counties of Maryland and West Virginia, there is much to be learned from their unique approach to asset-based tourism and community development in heavily forested landscapes. Here is a beautifully done webpage within their site that walks through the seasonality of different forest edible plants and derivatives.
Register Here Now.
Join Future Generations University’s Out of the Woods webinar series this Thursday evening at 7 PM to hear Dr. Abby van den Berg’s talk “Total Yields from Red Maple Trees.” Red maple trees are sometimes ignored as crop trees for maple production due to several persistent beliefs, including that they produce lower yields than sugar maple trees. This study quantified the total annual yields from red maple trees to examine this belief empirically. This talk was captured as part of the Southern Syrup Research Symposium. Here in Ohio, we were lucky to have Abby speak in December’s Ohio Maple Days event as well on the same topic.
The Southern Syrup Research Symposium was made possible with support from a 2017 Acer Access project titled “Expanding the Maple Industry in West Virginia and the Central Appalachian Region through Research and Education” awarded to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture in partnership with WVU & Future Generations University.
Future Generations University, one of our primary partners with the USDA ACER-funded work, continues to march along producing excellent monthly content through their webinar series “Out of the Woods.” The next 2 months are scheduled for February 17th and March 17th.
For February, Cara Rose – from Pocahontas County’s (West Virginia) Community & Visitors Bureau – will discuss how to incorporate tourism practices into one’s maple enterprise. You can register for the February 17th webinar here. To stay plugged in to Future Generations’ broader swath of maple-related research and outreach, their Facebook page is a great follow.
Cara’s webinar topic looks like it will be somewhat similar to a great presentation by Rob Leeds of OSU Extension at the 2021 December Ohio Maple Days in Ashland. There is a huge amount of information packed into Rob’s presentation slides from that day, and he updates a site for Ohio agritourism that is worth bookmarking and regularly checking for ideas of how to up the attractiveness of your maple enterprise.
Registration is open for a Maple Certification course offered by Future Generations University, one of our principal collaborating institutions. Designed for central Appalachian sugarmakers, the course is a combination of online trainings followed by mentored in-field experiences throughout the sugaring season. Visit the link for more information and sign-up! The first online class begins Monday, November 8th.
URGENT: Please do us the favor of returning your producer survey in our ACER research project!
As you might know already, we (Ohio State University) were awarded an ACER grant in 2019 in collaboration with Future Generations University in West Virginia and Penn State University. You can peek under the Research tab on the Ohio State Maple site or read this press release through the School of Environment and Natural Resources webpage for more general information about the award.
A main focus of the award was to send a survey to Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania producers to update our knowledge of production practices, where producers are marketing and moving maple syrup and other value-added maple products, and get a grasp on maple production numbers across the tri-state region. The latter piece of information is extra important now that Ohio has been removed from the list of states in USDA’s NASS maple survey.
Survey science is a tricky business and while we do not need every single producer to respond, each response helps. Each producer increases sample size and incrementally reduces our uncertainty about the different elements we are trying to explore. Due to the fact that only Pennsylvania is still on the list of NASS-surveyed maple states (West Virginia and Ohio having been dropped), getting a firm grasp on production data will be more important than ever. Our tri-state team sent nearly 2,000 surveys to producers across the 3 states and is currently rolling out a round of “take your survey” reminders. All respondents’ returned surveys are de-identified and we don’t share data with anyone outside the primary ACER award team, and you can be assured that your confidentiality is being prioritized!
So we will leave it at that. Please, if you received a producers survey from Ohio State’s ACER team, be an active member of the maple community and make your anonymous contribution on behalf of the broader maple community. We value your input and look forward to sharing results when the surveys are in and the analysis starts!
Author: Gabe Karns