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Forest Workshop Series Coming to Black Hills




For Immediate Release: May 6, 2011

Media Contact: Greg Josten, 605-394-2279


Forest Workshop Series Coming to Black Hills


RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Black Hills and its ecosystem are constantly changing. A workshop on June 11 will talk about the ecology of the forest and the role forest management plays.


On Saturday, June 11, 2011, a segment of the workshop series "Today’s Forest" will be held at the Brownsville Fire Hall in Deadwood. The free educational event is open to the public with a special invitation to all private forest landowners.  The topic is titled “Your Changing Forest” and will be presented by Dr. Skip Smith, a professor of forestry from Colorado State University in Fort Collins.


The first step to understanding forest change is to understand the ecosystem, said Ray Sowers, state forester for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.


“Once you discover how forest biotic and abiotic elements are related to each other, you can start talking about actions you can take to make sure the forest continues to look the way you want, which is the management part,” Sowers said


“There are a lot of changes occurring in the Black Hills right now,” continued Sowers. “Mountain pine beetle is a natural part of the ecosystem. Right now, it’s changing the landscape, and people want to know what they can do about it.”


Smith has been a professor of forestry for more than 25 years. He has taught many landowner workshops in Colorado, but this will be his first in South Dakota. However, he is not new to the Black Hills. His familiarity with the Black Hills includes research. Loggers will remember him as a primary instructor for their logger education series.


The workshop is sponsored by the state Department of Agriculture as part of a cooperative effort with Wyoming State Forestry and the Nebraska Forest Service.  Future workshops will include forest health/invasives, estate planning/taxes, Firewise, best-management practices, markets/ certification/contracting, and stewardship planning/assistance.


The June 11 workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Brownsville Fire Hall. The workshop will be repeated at the library in Sundance, Wyo., at 1:30 p.m., and at Chadron State Park, Central Building, Chadron, Neb., at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 12.  There will be 1 ½ hours of classroom instruction and two hours of field instruction. The workshop will proceed rain or shine, so people are encouraged to dress for the weather.


Please RSVP by June 3, 2011, to John Ball at 605-688-4737 or John.Ball@sdstate.edu


Agriculture is South Dakota's No. 1 industry, generating nearly $21 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 143,000 South Dakotans.  The South Dakota Department of Agriculture's mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow.  Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or follow us on Facebook.