Ohio forestry members hear reports on current eventsEsther M. Silvius Special to the NewsAt a recent board meeting, members of the East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) decided to work diligently to confirm speakers for up to six months in advance to help all members with scheduling.The board also discussed sponsoring the Ohio Woodland Journal for the 2009 calendar year.During the general meeting, Bill Silvis gave a short presentation on how his farm would be laid out with the 1,300 American Chestnuts he obtained through a special program. He is looking for volunteers to plant the trees in March or April.Dick Potts reported on the Tree Farm Convention in Portland, Ore. He said it went extremely well this year. A highlight of the trip was taking a field day to one of the sites as seen on Axmen where cable logging was currently being utilized.He noted that although very dangerous, this practice is the only way to log on the steep sloes of Oregon and Washington. "We also visited many sawmills where we learned that the export business is booming due to the demand for stick-built structures in Japan," he said. "Post and beam construction was the typical build in Japan until they experimented with our style of stud walls and came to realize that the stud walls can withstand earthquakes better than the post and beam."Potts also mentioned that Bob and Jean Cooper of North Carolina are the National Tree Farmers of the Year.Glenn Waggy said the Forest Heritage Festival was a great success this year, possibly the most charitable one ever held, with $87,000 going to the Akron Children's Hospital, although the final count was not yet complete.Waggy announced his retirement from the split-rail trade and is encouraging a younger volunteer "to pick up the ax" where he left off. He said he is willing to teach anyone who has an interest and would also supply the logs.Jeremy Scherf, service forester for Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison and Jefferson counties, said he had led a tour at Jockey Hollow to show the progress of end dumping. He said that federal agencies attending said they were impressed with the project and it truly opened their eyes to this new way of reclaiming.Scherf also announced that there is plenty of federal money available this coming year for those looking to plant trees or do some crop tree release. He said that Marietta State Nursery is now officially closed.The service forester said he has been in contact with Carey Sheppard from Husquvarna and tentatively will be having a two-day hands-on chainsaw training class at Dave and Kathy Myers' farm sometime in January or February. Cost will be $160 per person and the class is limited to 15 persons.The presentation for the evening was a video entitled "A Forest Returns" -- the success story of Ohio's only National Forest as told by Ora E. Anderson, editor of three newspapers in Jackson County, Ohio at the time of the Great Depression. Struggling for work, Anderson jumped at the chance to follow around the men who eventually created the Wayne National Forest. At that time many programs were being created by the government, such as the PWA or Public Works Administration, and CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps.At this time there were no forests in southeastern Ohio. The government planned to purchase more than one million acres to eventually reforest at a price of $6 to $8 per acre. The land was barren due to 100 years of farming, logging and coal mining and charcoal production.The Wayne was actually a relief program to buy the land from the farmers.Many farmers were delinquent and the county could not sell the land because no one wanted it. Foresters were assigned to purchase the land from the families.These families were able to stay in their homes and have gardens but were to leave the farmland for Mother Nature to take care of. If the families decided to move out, the homes and any other buildings would be demolished. The land slowly started to heal itself with the growth of trees.The CCC then moved in to build roads, ditches, streams and dams and plant more trees. The goal of the CCC was to stop all erosion that had occurred because of farming practices."Today, the Wayne National Forest consists of 230,000 acres of pristine wilderness and is a fine example of what Mother Nature is capable of with a little help from people," the video concluded.