Options for managing your woodland: 2011 field days and webinars

The Options for Managing Your Woodland Series is now over.

These field days and webinars were aimed at family forest owners.  Complete recordings of all of the webinar content are below.

Field Days

A field day is a perfect opportunity to explore options for your woodland and learn how a management plan may make you eligible for reduced property taxes or financial aid for woodland improvements.

At each location we discussed:
Improving wildlife habitat, designing recreational trails, producing useful products for the family, exploring income opportunities, recognizing serious pest problems, and protecting soil and water resources.

On each date woodland tours were offered from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 – 4:00 pm.

Field Day Locations:

Deep Portage Learning Center, Hackensack, MN

This forest mainly includes aspen, Norway (red) pine, and white pine with a few red maples and red oaks on rolling hills adjacent to a lake.  A few tamaracks grow in a bog. An old stand of aspen is retained to show its evolution without management.  Most stands are harvested by clearcutting.  Some pines regenerate naturally, but there also are plantations of different ages.  Managing the forest for timber and grouse are primary objectives, but forestry and wildlife specialists will discuss a wide range of forest products and wildlife that you could produce on a similar forest.  They also will point out potential problems from invasive plants, insects, and diseases.

Instructors: Woodland owners; Mel Baughman, UMN Extension; Diomy Zamora, UMN Extension; David Wilsey, UMN Extension; Julie Miedtke, UMN Extension; Jodi Provost, MN DNR – Wildlife; Staff Forester, Cass County Land Department; Keith Simar, Forestry Consultant


Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Lanesboro, MN

This forest is dominated by oaks, but includes a wide range of species: sugar maple, basswood, green ash, black walnut, boxelder, aspen, and others.  There are Norway (red) and white pine plantations of different stand ages.  Participants will learn how to improve the quality of timber through pruning and selective thinning as well as how to harvest and regenerate hardwoods and conifers.  This woodland occurs along the Root River where riparian buffer considerations are necessary when harvesting.  Steep hills are also a consideration for soil and water protection.  Deer, turkeys, gray squirrels, furbearers, and various nongame species are the primary wildlife. You can learn about producing shiitake mushrooms, maple syrup, and other products.  Emerald ash borer has been found in southeast Minnesota along with several other destructive plants, insects, and diseases.  Here is your chance to learn about management options in the face of these problems.

Instructors: Woodland owners; Mel Baughman, UMN Extension; Angela Gupta, UMN Extension; Gary Wyatt, UMN Extension; Dean Current, UMN Department of Forest Resources and CINRAM; Valiree Green, MN DNR; Emily Hutchins, MN DNR; Mitch Gilbert, Forestry Consultant; Johnny Micheel, Forestry Consultant


Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, Duluth, MN

Aspen, white pine, Norway (red) pine, jack pine, balsam fir, and white spruce are the primary species here. Some stands grew naturally, but several pine stands were planted. Deer, grouse, bears, furbearers, and various nongame species occur here.  A deer-proof fence shows the affects on tree species regeneration by excluding deer from the woodland. This forest offers opportunities to produce traditional wood products as well as birch bark products, black ash baskets, balsam boughs for wreaths and other gifts of nature.  Learn about destructive plants, insects, and diseases that every landowner should watch for.

Instructors: Woodland owners; Mel Baughman, UMN Extension; Mike Reichenbach, UMN Extension; David Wilsey, UMN Extension; Julie Miedtke, UMN Extension; Jodi Provost, MN DNR; John Geissler, Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center; Staff Forester, St. Louis County Land Department; Jan Bernu, Two by Forestry


Sonnenberg Farms, New York Mills, MN

Bob Sonnenberg is the Regional Tree Farmer of the Year. Before human settlement, this area was covered with white pines and oaks.  Bob now manages natural stands of mixed hardwoods with bur oak, red oak, basswood, ash, aspen, and ironwood, but he has planted many acres with Norway (red) and white pine.  He selectively harvests the hardwood stands, removing the poor quality trees and preserving the better quality trees for more growth.  He is getting ready to thin pine stands to sustain growth.  His land is in a relatively flat landscape with numerous wetlands. Deer and a few roughed grouse are the primary game species. Bob has a wide variety of small scale logging and wood processing equipment to show.  With this equipment he harvests his own logs, saws lumber, dries lumber, and sells lumber and firewood.  Bob designed his own mouse bait stations to control those pests in new tree plantations. He installed a Clemson beaver control device in a culvert to prevent beavers from damming the culvert.  With farm equipment and a small scraper he maintains farm roads, including firebreaks around pine plantations.  Learn about potential threats from invasive plants, insects, and diseases.

Instructors: Bob Sonnenberg, Woodland Owner; Angie Gupta or Eli Sagor, UMN Extension; Diomy Zamora, UMN Extension; Mike Reichenbach, UMN Extension; Dean Current, UMN Department of Forest Resources and CINRAM; Dave Johnson, Forester, MNDNR; Rob Rabasco, MNDNR-Wildlife, Chad Converse, consulting forester


Live Webinars

Forest Stewardship Planning

Click here to watch this presentation now.

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Content description: Every woodland owner would benefit from a written plan prepared with assistance from a forester or other natural resource professional.  A woodland is part of a complex ecosystem in which the species composition of plants and animals may change over time.  Professionals with education and experience in forestry can help you understand your woodland, how it is changing, and what you could do to better achieve your long term goals.  Whether you are interested in songbirds, recreational trails, firewood, timber, deer hunting, or other opportunities, a professional will listen to your interests and offer appropriate management options for you to consider.

In any such plan, the landowner specifies objectives, listens to ideas presented by the forester, and chooses which actions to include in the plan.  Depending on the size and complexity of your woodland, you may need a very simple plan for implementing a particular action or a comprehensive Forest Stewardship Plan describing how to get the most out of your entire woodland property.  This Webinar will inform you about the different types of plans, who can help you prepare them, what a plan costs, and what benefits you will get from it.  Speaking of benefits, a plan might qualify you for a lower property tax classification or make you eligible for cost-sharing to carry out forest management under a government program such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program.

Instructor: Gary Michael, Minnesota DNR, Division of Forestry

Sample Minnesota Stewardship Plan (PDF)
Woodland owner story (Video): The Don Janes family woodland
Approved Stewardship Plan preparers in Minnesota: Map and PDF list.


Your Property Online: Where to find soils, water, and land management information

A complete recording of this presentation is now available here.

When analyzing the natural resources on your property to figure out how best to manage it, the Web offers great resources, but which ones are reliable?  We will show you how to find useful soil maps, protected waters maps, and information about Minnesota’s voluntary site-level forest management guidelines.  (1) Soil maps will show you which soil types are found on different parts of your property. Accompanying information will then tell you the characteristics of each soil type and its capability to grow trees, support roads, or produce agricultural crops. Invest in forest management where your soils are most productive.  (2) Many streams, lakes, and wetlands are protected from certain types of development in order to maintain flows, water quality, and sometimes navigability.  County, state, and federal governments are all involved in issuing permits for various land and water uses that affect water.  Learn about the classification of water bodies on your property and what regulatory authorities may have jurisdiction over it. (3) Minnesota’s voluntary site-level forest management guidelines are aimed at protecting soil, water, biological, aesthetic, and cultural resources so these resources and values are sustainable over the long run.  These guidelines must be considered for many forest practices, such as timber harvesting, tree planting, and road building.  Just about any time you disturb the soil or water or alter the vegetation, the guidelines help you do it sustainably.  If we fail to follow these voluntary guidelines, there are people in our communities who will advocate for regulation which costs more to implement and enforce.

Instructors: Charlie Blinn, UMN Department of Forest Resources, and Eli Sagor, UMN Extension


Property Tax and Incentive Payments

A recording and handouts from this presentation is here.

Your forest stewardship actions may provide a potential property tax reduction or incentive payment.  Learn about one incentive payment program and two property tax programs.  First, the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act, offers an incentive payment of $7 per acre per year for landowners who have an approved forest management plan on qualifying property.  A minimum of 20 contiguous acres is required.  Second, the Rural Preserve Program provides a tax deferral for qualifying lands to those landowners who are or were enrolled in the Green Acres program.   Third, enrollment in the Class 2c Managed Forest Land requires an approved management plan and a minimum of 20 qualifying forested acres.  Land enrolled in this program receives a .65% class rate.  Learn how to enroll in these programs and which if any might benefit you.  Each of these programs is designed to encourage forest stewardship and protection of forested land from subdivision.

Instructor: Mike Reichenbach, Extension Educator, University of Minnesota Extension



This series is now over.

Sponsors: University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry

The University of Minnesota Extension Forestry team.

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  1. All of the field days are at least 200 miles away from me. It would be nice to have something closer for us folks up in the north end sometime.

    1. Sorry Leland. We did try to spread the workshops around the state, but unfortunately we were not able to offer one closer to you. I hope that you’ll be able to attend one or more of the webinars or make the long drive to a workshop.

  2. I’d be happy to teach classes on the north end of the state if someone would fund them (me). Is that where the federal stewardship grant money went???
    Tom Crumpton

  3. I do not have access to high speed internet. Would I be able to view the webinar at my local foresty office?


    1. Hi Randy. You’d need to contact the DNR office to ask if they’ve got a computer available that you could use. Another option might be a local library. Either way, be sure to call ahead. Also, be sure to register for the webinar so that you receive the connection instructions. They’ll include a URL that you can use to sign in from wherever you end up watching. Hope you can make it!