Love Your Land? Forest Alliance Annual Conference will Explore Different Options to Enjoy it.

13 Apr

MFA’s Annual Meeting and Conference will take place on Saturday, May 5th,  at Mass Wildlife’s Headquarters in Westborough. This year’s conference’s theme is “Loving the Land”.  The conference will feature presentations on wildlife management, climate change, road improvements, and different ways to generate income from your woods – so anyone who owns or manages woods should make plans to attend!

Like last year, this year’s program will start with an early morning birdwalk led by Mass Wildlife biologist Marianne Piche at 6:30 am.  Last year’s birdwalk saw meadowlarks, towhees, chestnut sided warblers, wood thrushes, tanagers and other birds – which species will be calling on May 5th?

Registration for the conference and the Trade Show will open at 7:30 am.  The Trade Show will have a variety of interesting exhibits and there will be a Silent Auction of many useful items for the forest community.

The Conference will start with a Welcome by MFA Executive Director Nathan L’Etoile and President Charles Thompson.

This year’s keynote address will be given by Mariko Yamasaki of the US Forest Service in Durham, NH, whose research on wildlife and habitats in New England is wide-ranging. Mariko is an engaging speaker who is especially adept at explaining what the science really means both to landowners and professionals working in the woods.

Following Mariko’s talk, there will be a presentation of the 2018 Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Award.

After a break for short Council Meetings, the second part of the morning program will begin with two workshops.

In the first morning workshop, Rebekah Zimmerer from Mass Wildlife will speak (workshop details forthcoming).

Following Rebekah, Marianne Piche and Patrick Conlin will discuss new NRCS funding opportunities for private forest landowners through the Young Forest (YF) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), and the Mass Forest Alliance/MassWildlife Collaborative for Private Forestland RCPP.

The second morning workshop will feature a representative from Tentrr, a interesting new business that helps landowners generate income from renting out campsites on their property.

After lunch and a break for the MFA business meeting, there will be two sessions of afternoon workshops.  One workshop in the first session will feature Jason Normandin from E. J. Prescott discussing how geotextile fabrics and other materials can be used to improve forest roads and their drainage. Weather permitting, part of this program will be outside to examine how different products are used.

The other workshop in the first session will feature Forest Ecologist Todd Ontl of the U.S. Forest Service who will discuss how northern forests will change in the face of climate change and steps landowners should consider to mitigate the impacts.

The first workshop of the second session will feature DCR Service Forester Mike Downey, who will discuss how Silvopasturing and other Agroforestry practices can be useful for landowners who want to combine management of farm woodlands with pasturing or other agricultural crops on their properties.

A second workshop, led by sugarers Dicken Crane and Leon Ripley, will discuss how landowners can develop and rent out a maple sugarbush on their properties.


The meeting will finish with the close of the Silent Auction at 3:30 p.m.


Conference Schedule

6:30 am                      Bird Walk on Mass Wildlife grounds

7:30 am                      Registration

Trade Show exhibits open

8:30 am                      Welcome – Nathan L’Etoile & Charlie Thompson, MFA

9 am                           Keynote Address – Mariko Yamasaki, U. S. Forest Service researcher

10 am                         Presentation of 2018 Massachusetts Forest Stewardship Award

10:30 – 10:40 am     Forester & Wood Producer Council meetings

10:45 – 11:45            Morning Workshops

  • Tentrr – Auxiliary Meeting Room
  • Rare Species & Improving Habitat – Main Meeting Room

11:45 am                    Trade Show break

11:45 – 1:15              Lunch

12:15 – 1:10              MFA Business Meeting – Auxiliary Meeting Room

1:15 – 2:15                1st Session Afternoon Workshops

  • Climate Change & Adaptive Management – Main Meeting Room
  • Products to Improve Woods Roads  — Auxiliary Meeting Room

2:20 – 3:20              2nd Session Afternoon Workshops

  •  Adapting Agroforestry to Your Property – Main Meeting Room
  • Developing and Renting a Sugarbush – Auxiliary Meeting Room

3:30                            Silent Auction Closes

Trade Show Closes


For more information, contact Greg Cox at or call (413) 339-5526


You can receive the following credits for attendance: 

6.5 Massachusetts Timber Harvester License Credits

5.25 Massachusetts Category I Continuing Forester Education Credits

1  Massachusetts Category II Continuing Forester Education Credits

4 Society of American Foresters Category I Credits

1.5 Connecticut Continuing Education Units


As a bonus, the early morning bird walk (6:30am) is free and has been awarded an additional:

1.5 Massachusetts Category I credits

1.5 Society of American Foresters Category I credits

0.5  Connecticut Continuing Education Units