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Virginia Forestry Association




VFA members consist of forest landowners, foresters, forest products businesses, loggers, and others concerned about the future of Virginia’s forest resources. You are invited to become involved. JOIN TODAY!

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Delegate Ramadan Announces $125,000 for Lyme Testing at George Mason University
As the nation recognizes May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Delegate David Ramadan (R-87th) announced that funding he requested for a groundbreaking new Lyme disease test developed by George Mason University has been included in Virginia’s 2015-2016 budget. Further, Ceres Nanosciences announces that the test is now available to patients under a new clinical study at Dr. Sam Shor’s clinic, Internal Medicine of Northern Virginia in Reston. 
George Mason University’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) would receive $125,000 to rollout the Nanotrap® based Lyme Antigen Test, which was developed jointly with Ceres Nanosciences.
Delegate Ramadan requested the funding after working with GMU, Ceres and Loudoun physician Dr. Sam Shor over the last two years to add a new patient enrollment site for the clinical study of the test.
Dr. Lance Liotta, Co-Director of CAPMM and Medical Director of the Clinical Proteomics Lab at Mason, said the support from the Virginia Commonwealth provided by Delegate Ramadan made this innovative breakthrough possible. “Our test is completely different from past diagnostic tests for Lyme,” Liotta said. “Through our novel nanotrap technology, we can achieve a high level of sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy that has never been possible in the past.
“Delegate Ramadan’s support for the new Lyme disease test developed by George Mason and Ceres Nanosciences has been exceptional and integral to its success. We are grateful to have such a strong supporter who both appreciates the issue that is Lyme disease, and understands the investment and resources required to deliver a new test that can provide immediate patient benefit. This funding allocation from the Virginia legislature will have an immediate impact on the availability of the new Nanotrap® Lyme Antigen Test that is now offered out of Mason’s clinical laboratory. It will leverage the significant investment made by Ceres Nanosciences already, and provide much needed funds to outfit Mason’s lab with new equipment and resources that will directly support the expansion of the Lyme Antigen Test, making this test available to more patients in Virginia and beyond” said Ceres’ CEO, Ross Dunlap.

(Delegate David Ramadan represents the 87th House of Delegates District, which includes eastern Loudoun County and western Prince William County. To learn more visit www.DavidRamadan.com)

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Impact of the Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development Fund

The Governor’s Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund has been successful due to collective efforts in Virginia government to promote the agriculture and forestry industries and create new jobs in these sectors. VFA was proud to be a part of the effort to establish the Fund and continues to advocate for this grant funding.

To date, AFID facility grants total 18 projects in 16 localities for the creation of 1,329 jobs and capital investment of over $145 million, all using on average 70% Virginia grown inputs into their processes.  Of those totals, three of those 18 projects are forestry related.  These include Franklin Lumber, Independence Lumber and Trout River Dry Kiln, all detailed below.  In total, Virginia has leveraged $350,000 in grant awards for forestry projects (see chart below) in three localities for $25 million in capital investment, 137 new jobs and 72% Virginia grown forestry inputs.

Franklin Lumber, LLC $150,000 $14.80 72 40% Isle of Wight County June 2013
Trout River Dry Kiln $100,000 $5.47 40 85% Nottoway County Mar. 2014
Independence Lumber $100,000 $5.05 25 90% County of Grayson Aug. 2014

Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Todd Haymore stated, “We thank you and your members for your continued support that allowed for the original creation of the program and has now led to these successful results.  We look forward to bolstering the AFID program even more with our partners in 2015 as agriculture and forestry continues to be woven into the Administration’s strategic economic development efforts towards a New Virginia Economy.”

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New George Washington National Forest Plan Balances Multiple Uses

In November the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Regional Forester released the Final Forest Plan that will direct management of the George Washington National Forest (GWNF). The plan revises the 1993 plan, as required by the National Forest Management Act, and contains guidance for managing nearly 1.1 million acres of national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.
“This forest plan provides a balance of management direction that addresses both the long-term ecological sustainability of the GWNF, as well as the long-term social and economic needs of those that depend on or are impacted by the Forest,” said Southern Regional Forester Ken Arney.
The plan works to fulfill the Forest Service’s mission of managing national forests for multiple uses and reflects extensive input from many deeply committed individuals, organizations, and communities representing diverse interests and uses, who have worked closely together over six years. As a result of this collaborative input, implementation of this plan will:

In a letter to planning participants, including VFA, Tom Speaks, forest supervisor of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests stated, “Our work does not end with approval of this plan. The next step is to work together to develop and implement projects that move us toward the vision described in the plan.”

VFA endorsed a plan to focus on increasing active forest and wildlife management, including additional harvesting on the GWNF, with a goal of creating more early successional habitat and allowing for biomass removal. These changes will help improve forest health and potentially benefit local wood products industry. As a part of collaboration with a local stakeholder group, which endorsed increased management, VFA agreed to the concept of additional National Scenic and Wilderness areas for lands inaccessible for practical timber harvesting.

The plan includes a decision that limits availability for new oil and gas leasing, while establishing a comprehensive framework for potential development on about 10,000 acres where there are existing valid leases, as well as on 167,200 acres with existing private mineral rights. Presently, none of the existing federal leases or existing privately owned mineral rights on the Forest are active. There is also no mineral development occurring on adjacent private lands. The decision does not prohibit any specific technology for developing oil and gas resources, including hydraulic fracturing.  Any proposal to develop existing leases on the Forest would undergo additional environmental analysis and provide opportunities for public comment and engagement. 
To review the revised George Washington National Forest Plan, visit the Forest Website.  For additional information, contact the George Washington National Forest at 540/265-5100.

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American Forest Foundation Revised Tree Farm Certification Standards Promote Forest Health and Species Conservation

Updated Standards of Sustainability for Forest Certification under the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation are available here. The standards, which are revised every five years, are the result of a rigorous, multi-stakeholder process and based on international guidelines for sustainable forest management and conservation.

VFA is an active state co-sponsor of Tree Farm, and VFA Programs Manager Shannon McCabe serves as the state Tree Farm administrator.

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New SFI Standards and Rules Ensure the Health and Future of Forests  

The launch of the new Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) 2015-2019 Standards and Rules marks an important advancement to support better decision making all along the supply chain and to promote sustainable forest management.
"The future of our forests depends on credible, transparent and auditable standards to enable sustainable resource use for today and generations to come," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc. "SFI plays a central role in strengthening the vital link between healthy forests, responsible purchasing and sustainable communities."
A major change to the structure of the SFI 2015-2019 Standards and Rules is the establishment of three stand-alone standards:

The SFI standards are updated every five years to incorporate the latest scientific information and to respond to emerging issues. As part of this update, comments were received during two 60-day public comment periods and input was gathered from 12 public workshops across the United States and Canada. Approximately 10,000 stakeholders were invited to submit comments. Participants included public and private landowners, forest sector representatives, indigenous communities, conservation groups, industry representatives, academics and government officials. The responses to comments are posted on the SFI website.

VFA’s SFI Implementation Committee oversees SFI-related activities in Virginia.

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Project Learning Tree Completes Analysis Linking PLT Activities to STEM Education 

Teachers all across the country love using Project Learning Tree to introduce students to the science of forests.  Now, thanks to a thorough analysis by PLT staff, they can do so with full confidence that PLT activities support Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) education. 

PLT staff identified 40 activities that directly incorporate STEM principles.  In addition, they found that PLT activities in general promote STEM education in three main ways:

See the full analysis here, including a list of activities that correspond with STEM.

VFA is a state co-sponsor of PLT in Virginia along with the Virginia Department of Forestry and Virginia Tech.

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Contact your elected officials here.


Use the e-mail module on the legislator's web site to send your letter.

If you'd rather make a phone call, you can use the phone number for the Capitol Hill office or call the Capital switchboard at 202/224-3121. Mention the legislator's name and, once connected, your reason for calling.