BLAIRSTOWN, NJ - Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC), a land trust in Blairstown, NJ, announced the launch of its first Women and Their Woods Workshop (WTW), a one-day event for women interested in learning more about why and how to take care of their forests. The workshop will be held at a private residence in Hardwick, NJ on June 15, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) has generously helped to underwrite the event costs assisting in keeping the
registration fee at $35 per person for the day. Registration includes a full day of educational programming, continental breakfast and buffet lunch.

“Women and Their Woods is a program designed to help attendees identify and come away with their own plan to take care of their land, with tools and resource information that empowers them to clearly implement and communicate their vision to the professionals involved,” said Susi Tilley, Executive Director of RVC when speaking about how the land trust came to develop this program in New Jersey. “It has been my own
experience, that my desire to learn more about forestry stewardship originated from a lifelong emotional connection with the land. Having taken part in a women-only workshop helped me turn this connection into a defined vision of what I wanted my forest to look like.”

Studies in recent years have begun to make clear that women landowners are a notable and growing population in the US. It has also become increasingly clear, how underserved women forest landowners have been in terms of support, education and resources.

● Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of family forest ownerships indicating women as the primary decision maker for the property increased from 11 percent to 22 percent, covering 44 million acres of forest land (Butler et al. 2016a, Butler et al. 2016b).

● 58 percent of woodland properties have at least one woman listed as a sole, primary, or secondary owner (Butler et al. in review).

● Women are less likely than men to harvest timber for commercial sale, manage for wildlife habitat, participate in cost-share programs, have a conservation easement on their wooded land, obtain green certification, participate in tax abatement programs, or simply get advice about their wooded land (Butler et al. in review).

● Interviews conducted with natural resource professionals who are actively engaging with female family forestland owners indicated that “traditional” programs geared towards forest owners do not meet the needs of women, despite their interest in conservation (Huff in press).

“A successful woodland management plan must reflect the goals and vision of the woodland owners,” said Tilley. “That can’t happen if an owner doesn’t understand what they have, what resources are available, and, most importantly, what they truly want. Our workshop aims to help women ask these questions and find their answers.”

Modeled after similar events across the country, WTW seeks to help attendees learn more about why and how to take care of their forests.

"The New Jersey Conservation Foundation is proud to support this workshop. Forests are under siege in New Jersey by deer, invasive plants and animals, and other climate impacts. Knowledgeable landowners are essential to keep our forests healthy. The workshop will provide information and ideas to landowners about how to nurture their wooded lands," said Laura Szwak, NJCF Director of Education & Outreach.

Topics will address forest health, best management practices, financial benefits of protecting the forest, including forestry stewardship plans and stewardship assistance programs. Attendees will learn about deer browsing and management, native woodland plants, holistic restoration, butterflies and wildlife, alternate treatment for invasive plants, practical applications and more. WTW will feature prominent speakers who are
leaders in their fields, including:

- Lori Jensen, Executive Director of NJ Forestry Association
- Rachel Mackow, Partner, Wild Ridge Plants
- Leslie Sauer, Author, “The Once and Future Forest: A Guide To Forest Restoration Strategies”
- Sara Webb, Professor Emeritus, Biology and Environmental Science, Drew University / Former Director, Drew Forest Preserve
- Sharon Wander, Trustee, RVC / Partner, Wander Ecological Consultants

Event programming details, timelines and registration are available on RVC’s website www.ridgeandvalleyconservancy.org and Facebook page www.facebook.com/ridgeandvalleyconservancy/ or by calling 908-362-7989. Some outdoor exploration will be included, attendees should wear appropriate clothing and footwear. The event will be held rain or shine.

About Ridge and Valley Conservancy

Ridge and Valley Conservancy (RVC) is a private, non-profit local land trust, founded in 1992, that preserves natural areas within the Appalachian Valley and Ridge Region of northwestern New Jersey for the benefit of people and wildlife. We protect forests, meadows, farmland and watercourses, and practice sound ecological management of the land we've protected. Many or our preserves are open to the public, so that people may commune with nature. RVC acquires both land and conservation easements. We also assist in the stewardship of public land and advise landowners as to their conservation options. RVC is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For additional information, please visit www.ridgeandvalleyconservancy.org.

About New Jersey Conservation Foundation

New Jersey Conservation Foundation is a private nonprofit that preserves land and natural resources throughout New Jersey for the benefit of all. Since 1960, New Jersey Conservation has protected 125,000 acres of open space – from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. For more information about the Foundation’s programs and preserves, go to
www.njconservation.org or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE (1-888-526-3728).