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Saturday, October 17, 2020
With Two Weeks to Go, PAC Fundraising Campaign Crushes Previous Records

In a letter to VFA stakeholders this past August, the VAForestPAC Board of Trustees pledged a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $10,000 for all PAC contributions made by October 31, 2020. The $20,000 goal, which if met would establish a new annual PAC fundraising record, was intended to "reinvigorate our Political Action Committee at this most important time, while giving us an opportunity to fully explore and develop new fundraising events and opportunities when public health conditions better allow." 

Heeding this call to action, Virginia's forestry community responded with overwhelming support. Through October 6th, VAForestPAC has received contributions of more than $24,000 from 53 individuals and companies, setting records for both annual dollars raised and number of annual contributors. The continued success of VAForestPAC fundraising during this fall campaign sends a message of our community's strength to public officials as the 2021 General Assembly session approaches. 

The campaign continues through October 31st, so there's still time to make join our community in making a strong statement. Please visit the VAForestPAC page on to learn more or to contribute. For questions, please contact Corey Connors.

Thank you again to the 53 individuals and companies who have contributed to the overwhelming success of VAForestPAC's 2020 Fall Campaign!

Special Session Update: Finish Line (Finally) in Sight...Maybe...

Originally convened by Governor Ralph Northam to address prospective budget shortfalls and to address criminal justice reform issues, the 2020 Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly endured longer than most observers originally anticipated. But at long last, a faint light has emerged at the end of the tunnel. Sort of...

On Wednesday evening, the joint conference committee published revisions to the biennial budget, setting up a final vote on Friday evening. While the measure was expected to pass, it remains possible that the General Assembly may recess rather than adjourn its Special Session. Doing so would allow the Governor to make budget amendments to expedite the creation of a new independent redistricting commission that is on the statewide ballot November 3rd, if passed.

For more on the budget deal from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Times-Dispatch Article (10/14/20)  "Virginia Budget Negotiators Reach Deal"

VFA Membership Directory Advertising Opportunities Now Available

Often cited as a top membership benefit, VFA's membership directory serves as a valuable resource for Virginia’s entire forestry community and is a popular and useful tool for our advertisers, partners, and members.  The submission deadline is November 1, so act fast as our premium positions have been going quickly and advertising space is limited. Click the icon above to view our rate sheet and submission form. You may also submit your ad online and pay via credit card by clicking here

Even if you are not advertising in the directory, now is a good time to access your online profile and make sure your contact information is correct - our members use this directory to reach out to you! Please let us know at the VFA office if you have any trouble accessing your profile or if you need any help updating your information. Thank you for your continued support of VFA and the 2021 VFA Membership Directory. For any questions, please contact Elizabeth Buhl at, or by phone at (804) 278-8733, ext. 102.

Virginia Residents Warned to Stay Away from Hairy, Venomous Caterpillars

"Officials in Virginia are warning residents to stay away from a poisonous creature that has been spotted in the state. The Virginia Department of Forestry's health team said this week they have received reports about what is known as the puss caterpillar, seen in eastern Virginia counties. Officials warn the caterpillar may look cute and harmless. It is not.

'#SocialDistance away from this caterpillar!" the forestry department said on Facebook, posting a photo of the furry critter."  

For the full article and video from CBS News (national), click here


Update: Cascades to Convert Bear Island Mill to Containerboard

Cascades Inc., Kingsey Falls, Quebec, has announced that it is moving forward on converting its White Birch Bear Island paper mill in Ashland, Virginia, to a containerboard machine to produce lightweight, 100-percent-recycled linerboard and medium for the North American market.

Cascades initially acquired the Bear Island paper mill from Greenwich, Connecticut-based White Birch Paper in 2018 for $34.2 million. According to a news release from Cascades, the company says it plans to convert the mill to containerboard by the first quarter of 2021.
For the full article from Recycling Today, click here.


Local Forestry Agents Share Experience Assisting with West Coast Wildfires

"As fires continue to burn on the West Coast, resources and aid from agencies across the United States are pouring into states like California, Oregon, and Washington in an effort to suppress the spreading flames.

Help from Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee has been ongoing since these fires began earlier this summer. Casey Howard, the Assistant Fire Management Officer for the USFS Flatwoods Job Corps Center in Coeburn, Virginia, is one of the many who have been dispatched out West to help with the fires firsthand."
For the full article and video from WJHL 11, click here.


Local Lumber Company Provides Desks for Virtual Learning

"When George Melnyk Jr. heard about restaurants helping others by providing food during the COVID-19 pandemic, he wished there were something he could do to help. Melnyk and his wife, Kim, own Premier Millwork and Lumber Company."
For the full article from the Virginian-Pilot, click here.


Ash Disaster: Local Ash Trees Face Their Own Pandemic 

"As if COVID-19 weren’t enough, central Virginia is fighting another plague, only this one—the emerald ash borer—threatens our trees. The beetle may look like a tiny jewel— it’s a bright metallic green, small enough to sit on a penny— but it’s been scything down local ash trees like a malevolent Paul Bunyan. 

'No ash tree is safe,' says Jake Van Yahres, co-owner of Van Yahres Tree Company, which his great-grandfather founded in 1919 during another pandemic. 'If you have an ash tree and don’t get it treated, it will die.'"

For the full article from, click here.


Virginia Unemployment Claims Decreasing, But State's Trust Fund Nearly Empty

"Unemployment claims in Virginia have been decreasing steadily since the state began reopening its economy, but they are still higher than last year and the state's unemployment trust fund is practically out of money."

"Unemployment claims for the past week are about 10 times higher than they were at the same time last year. Although the unemployment numbers are improving, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is set to run out of money at some point next week."

For the full article from the Center Square, click here.


App Uses Phone GPS for Real-Time Map of Virginia State Parks

"Virginia State Park maps are now available on Avenza, an app that uses a mobile phone’s location on a downloaded map. As a user travels through the park, their location, indicated as a blue dot, moves in real-time. Cellphone GPS units work even when there is no service available.

'While the mapping software will clearly improve the visitor experience, it’s already being put to use to improve our land management effectiveness,' said Virginia State Parks Director Melissa Baker. 'Park staff have used Avenza Maps to mark property boundaries, establish designated hunting zones for managed hunts, mark invasive species locations for removal or treatment, and plan prescribed burns to manage forest health.”"

For the full article from the NBC12, click here.


We're About to Hit Prime Leaf Peeping Time. Here's What You Need to Know

"Although the past few days have been glum and rainy, there's been a brightness in the fog that have been peeking through. The trees in the Shenandoah Valley have started to turn. 

Now is the time for peak fall foliage according to the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Interstate 81 corridor will see peak fall colors from Oct. 10 through 20."

For the full article from the Staunton News Leader, click here.


Lohmann: Forest in the Middle of Richmond 'is Being Unleashed to be Itself'

"We met on a recent morning for a walk in the woods. “This has always been one of my favorite places,' said McChesney “Ches” Goodall III as we set off.

Goodall knows a good forest when he sees one: He’s a forester by training and co-founder of Virginia Forestry and Wildlife Group, a natural resource consulting firm. He and his son began exploring these woods — behind the Carillon and Dogwood Dell amphitheater in Byrd Park — years ago."

For the full article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, click here.
Celebrate National Forest Products Week 2020
Forest Resources Association - October 15, 2020

National Forest Products Week begins next week, and FRA is excited to celebrate a world-class wood supply chain. Please join us October 18-24 to recognize the forest...MORE
Manufacturers Seek to Block Virginia from Joining Carbon Market in Lawsuit
Virginia Mercury - October 9, 2020

The Virginia Manufacturers Association is suing Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality and State Air Pollution Control Board over the state’s revision of ...MORE

Perrotte: Virginians are Fortunate to Have Ample Hunting Opportunities
Free Lance-Star - October 14, 2020

VIRGINIA’S hunting season is entering the “full speed ahead” phase for 2020.Archery seasons are underway for deer and bear with early muzzleloader season for...MORE

Growing Opportunities in the Carbon Field for Agriculture and Forestry
National Law Review - October 9, 2020

Environmental sustainability and carbon management are increasingly part of the lexicon in corporate boardrooms around the world. Private industries around the globe...MORE

Experimental Forests Offer One-of-a-Kind Remote Learning Materials
USFS Pacific Northwest Research Station - October 8, 2020

In this time of widespread remote learning, USDA Forest Service Experimental Forests and Rangelands bring the mysteries of the forest to the classroom, even when it’s...MORE

Forest Management and Building Practices Can Help Mitigate the Impact of Wildfires
Resources Magazine - October 14, 2020

More than five million acres have burned across the West Coast in this year’s unusually severe wildfire season. Billowing smoke has traveled across the country...MORE

Seeing the Forest and the Trees
Richmond Magazine - October 9, 2020

Richmond has an urban forest that is best appreciated with a walk about the city in the fall. You can learn about some of the trees in the canopy courtesy of the Richmond...MORE

October 23 and 30, 2020 - Fifteen Minutes in the Forest

Spend 15 minutes in the forest with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension Foresters each Friday at noon to learn about timely forestry topics.

October 22-November 12, 2020 (weekly Thursdays) - Natural Area Management Services Webinar Series

Are you a Green Industry professional interested in expanding the suite of services offered to your clients to include creating and enhancing natural areas?  If so, then this four-part webinar series is for you!

October 22, 2020 - Seasonal Invasive Plant Workshops

Spend the afternoon with Blue Ridge PRISM learning about non-native invasive plants and how to confidently identify and manage them.
Copyright © 2020 Virginia Forestry Association, All rights reserved.
The VFA Voice

Our Contact Info:
3808 Augusta Ave
Richmond, VA 23230
(804) 278-8733

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