Loving the Land Through Working Forests

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Would you like to register children, FSF Members, or PFA Members for free? E-mail info@foundationforsustainableforests.org to provide your name(s).

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Directions to Floraroze Forest

Conference Schedule

Session Descriptions

Meet the Presenters

Pre-registration is required. $15 per person, free for Members of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests and the Pennsylvania Forestry Association.

Directions to the Conference

Located at Floraroze Forest, South Creek Rd., Girard, PA 16417, 0.2 miles SW of the intersection with Francis Rd.

Schedule of Events

7:30am Welcome & Sign-In Begins

8:15am Introductions & Orientation

8:30am Opening Address

A Practitioner's Journey to Restorative Forestry, Presented by Jason Rutledge

9:00am Morning Session I (Concurrent)

10:20am Transition/Break

10:40am Morning Session II (Concurrent)

12:00pm Lunch (Included with Registration)

1:30pm Afternoon Session (Concurrent)

4:00pm Program Wrap-Up


Concurrent Sessions*

(*Session titles & descriptions are a work in progress)

Sustainable Forestry for Ecosystem Resilience, Presented by Troy Firth

Join Troy Firth and his colleagues on a walking tour of the Floraroze Forest, which has been under the Foundation's style of management for 20 years and counting. Troy will discuss the Foundation's approach to sustainable forest management for ecosystem health, including practices that improve a forest's resilience to change and threats related to invasive species, climate change, and other influences. This site offers the opportunity to view small group selections over time, and is a success story for invasive species management. Troy will both educate and engage your understanding and perspective of our region's forests. His session will span the full morning program, and again in the afternoon. If you wish to attend an alternative session first thing in the morning, you will be able to rendezvouz with his group to join the second half.

Legacy & Estate Planning for the Woodland Owner, Presented by Thomas C. Hoffman, II

An introduction to estate planning and the need for woodland owners to plan for the future of their land and resources. This session includes a Federal and Pennsylvania inheritance tax primer, discussion of using limited partnerships and limited liability companies, and discussion of multi-generational and lifetime forest land planning using trusts.

Women & Working Forests, Presented by Amanda Mahaffey, Allyson Muth and Cecile Stelter

Women play a large role in caring for Pennsylvania's privately-owned forestlands. In PA, 33% of the landowner population is women, and women own 19% of forestland. Nationally, four out of five woodland properties have at least one woman listed as the sole or co-owner, and between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of family forest ownerships indicating women as the primary decisionmaker doubled. Today’s session highlights the role of women in stewarding our forests. We will explore topics such as invasive plants, forest growth and measurement, and how to know a high-graded forest when you see one. Participants will connect with a community of women woodland owners and gain skills to care for your land.

Restorative Forestry & Modern Horse Logging, Presented by Jason Rutledge

The choice of working horses in the forest is a key biological component in the practice of "restorative forestry". Restorative forestry, as you will see in this Foundation-managed forest, means imitating nature and taking the worst individual trees first, using skilled directional felling and modern horse logging. These harvesting systems leave the forest intact while extracting forest products for human needs. Join forest practitioner and Healing Harvest Foundation co-founder Jason Rutledge and his colleagues as they discuss the practical uses of horses in restorative forestry, and other techniques that translate from the forests of Virginia to this region. This session will navigate the complex issue of practicing forestry that is both good for the environment and ecology of the forest and good for the economy of the community that surrounds it.

Practical Ways to Support Wildlife on Your Land, Presented by Josh VanBrakle

Wildlife got by without our help for thousands of years. Do they need it now? Yes. Wildlife today face threats they’ve never dealt with before like forest fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change. Fortunately, there are simple projects you can do no matter how much land you own that can help local wildlife thrive in your backyard, field, woods, and stream. On this woods walk, we’ll use Floraroze Forest to talk about what wildlife need and ways you can provide it on your property.


Meet the Presenters

Troy Firth is the Founder and President of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests, and owner of Firth Maple Products in Spartansburg, PA. Since 1971, Troy has practiced sustainable forestry, having a hand in the direct management of over 100,000 acres of Penn's Woods. He is also a leader in the sustainable non-timber forest products industry. A description of Troy's work and vision can be found in author Wendell Berry's 2013 essay "A Forest Conversation". Although he will do anything to further the Foundation's mission and protect this region's forests, he is most at home in the woods, which is where you will find him for this compelling forest walk and presentation.


Thomas C. Hoffman, II is a lawyer and CPA with Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C., as well as a member of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests Board of Directors. Mr. Hoffman is the originator of the Knox Law Institute, which provides valuable, relevant and practical education on legal matters to businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, insurance companies, financial institutions, individuals and families, and professional advisors. He is a major contributor for topics including estate and business succession planning, tax law, asset protection, shale energy planning, trusts, charitable giving and more.


Amanda Mahaffey is the Northeast Region Director at the Forest Stewards Guild. She holds a BA and Master of Forestry from Yale University and a Master of Music from the University of Southern Maine. She has over a decade's worth of experience in forestry and environmental management, including industrial forest management, wetland delineation, timberland transactions, woodland owner outreach, and regional conservation partnership coordination. She joined the Guild as a student member and served on the Membership Committee and Board of Directors before joining staff as Northeast Region Director in 2012.


Allyson Brownlee Muth began at Penn State in 2004 as a Forest Stewardship Program Associate working with the Pennsylvania Forest Stewards Volunteer Program and conducting outreach to forest landowners across the state (and beyond). Allyson has degrees in forestry and an Ed.D. with an emphasis in Collaborative Learning. She has worked in the forest industry and for private consulting firms and has a strong interest in peer learning and in creating dialogue to advance understanding of forest stewardship issues and opportunities.


Jason Rutledge was born in 1950 to a Sharecroppers daughter, is of Cherokee descent and native Virginian. He was raised in a farming family by grandparents that made their living from the land. He has been a lifetime farmer, father of four and is a co-founder of the Healing Harvest Forest Foundation. He is often called the visionary of this group that promotes “restorative forestry” and as a small group has influenced the entire forest products industry in unique ways. Jason is and has been a charter member of many sustainable forest interest groups over his 30 year career as a forester, with an emphasis on community-based restorative and therefore sustainable forestry and bottom up change in society.


Cecile Stelter graduated from Penn State University in 1989 with a B.S. in Forest Science and in 1990 with a MFR in Forest Management. Cecile has worked for the DCNR, Bureau of Forestry for 20 years and has been employed as the District Forester since 2008, working in the Cornplanter Forest District based in Warren, PA. Cecile is a Life Member of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and the Pennsylvania Forest Fire Museum Association. She is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters and a member of the Plateau Chapter of SAF. She is also a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture and a lifetime member of the Girl Scout organization.


Josh VanBrakle is a forester who has been helping family landowners care for their woods since 2010. He is the author of two books on land stewardship: Backyard Woodland: How to Maintain and Sustain Your Trees, Water, and Wildlife and Attracting Wildlife to Your Backyard: 101 Projects to Make Your Property Home to Creatures Great and Small. He previously served as Editor for the forestry website MyWoodlot.com and as Research Forester for the Watershed Agricultural Council. Josh currently works as the GIS Specialist at the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.