Earth Day 2021 — We Can Never Have Too Many Trees in West Virginia

by Duane Nichols on April 21, 2021

Planting trees near Wheeling’s Heritage Trail, learn about tree identification & management

Planting Trees in WV Northern Panhandle for Earth Day

Article by Maureen Zambito, West Liberty University, April 21, 2021

WEST LIBERTY, WV — Just in time for Earth Day, West Liberty University (WLU) students in Professor James Wood’s biology and ecology classes are planting trees in Wheeling’s public spaces and on campus.

Last Saturday students planted two types of native flowering trees along a portion of the Heritage Trail along the Ohio River, near WesBanco Arena. The purchase of the trees was made possible thanks to a grant obtained by West Virginia University Agricultural Extension Agent and Wheeling resident Karen Cox.

“These trees will add beauty to this public green space in the city, supporting birds and other pollinators while also providing shade for trail users in the height of summer heat,” said Wood. “Adding trees along the trail make it better for everyone.”

New signs here

But the students’ work wasn’t done just yet. On Sunday these students partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in addition to WVU Extension, to work on the National Wildlife Refuge at the northern tip of Wheeling Island.

PHOTO — New signage at the northern tip of Wheeling Island identifies the space as a National Wildlife Refuge, perfect for bird watchers.

“The Wildlife Refuge is a such a great resource for the public and for wildlife. It offers beautiful views of the river and is a great place to go bird watching close to downtown,” said Wood. “We are pleased to be a part of improving Wheeling’s public spaces.”

The outreach and service projects also provide WLU students with a hands-on look at careers in natural resources. Extension Agent Karen Cox and U.S. Fish and Wildlife representative Elian Barr spoke with students about working to protect and restore natural areas and educating the public about managing for endangered species and invasive exotic plants.

The students took time to clean up trash found in Wheeling Island’s Wildlife Refuge. “Our next project is closer to home, we’ll plant trees on campus near Campbell Hall,” said Wood.

“The goal is to increase educational opportunities on the WLU campus, while making the campus more visually attractive and promoting conservation. This round of tree planting will support the planting event last fall when over 40 native trees were planted by students during a service project.”

Dr. Wood is a faculty member in the biology department in the College of Sciences. Biology majors include Environmental Stewardship and Education; Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Zoo Science. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology + Master of Science Physician Assistant Studies degree through the 3+2 program.


See also: The Trillion Trees bill was reintroduced in this Congress

House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman reintroduced his Trillion Trees legislation in the House yesterday afternoon with over 60 co-sponsors. The bill has provisions related to increasing carbon sequestration through reforestation, improved forest management and market incentives. Among other provisions, the bill removes the cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund to $180 million to help address the reforestation backlog on the NFS. It also has language standing up urban wood and biochar grant programs, as well as integrating carbon storage into FIA and encouraging the Forest Service to utilize advanced geospatial technologies in FIA. The section-by-section summary below is useful.

(a) Westerman Leads Bipartisan Introduction of The Trillion Trees Act | Congressman Bruce Westerman (

(b) trillion_trees_act_-_one_pager.pdf (

(c) trillion_trees_act_-_section-by-section.pdf (

(d) Full Bill Text in US Congress

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Russ Fulcher April 21, 2021 at 7:54 pm

Congressman Fulcher Introduces Bill to Invest in Forest Management Workers, Students, Resources

Russ Fulcher Press Release, US House of Representatives, Tuesday, April 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fulcher announced new legislation, the Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act. The bill, out of the Natural Resources Committee, will be compiled with several other pieces of legislation to form the Trillion Trees Act — a comprehensive initiative from several Republican members to introduce as an alternative to the left’s “radical Green New Deal”.

The Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act creates a $20 million discretionary grant program to be divided equally between land-grant colleges, universities, and technical/ vocational schools to provide degrees or certificates in forestry and forestry-related fields. It also allows reforestation to be included in federal Job Corps programs.

Changes to the text of this act would allow for public, private, non-profit, and for-profit colleges and universities that offer accredited degrees recognized certificates, and accept dual enrollment students.

“In order to expand the breadth of our forestry workforce, we must invest in our education apparatus, which will return tenfold in stable jobs while preserving the natural beauty, ecology, economy, and culture of our state,” commented Congressman Fulcher. “The rural communities in my district are asking for the opportunity to return our state and federal forests to a healthy ecosystem. This investment in our educational system and workforce management is an investment in our future.”

“Catastrophic wildfires and years of poor forest management have made the need for reliable forestry workers all that much more important,” stated House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-AR). “As a licensed forester, I’ve seen firsthand how skilled workers can improve our forests nationwide and make them healthier and more resilient. It’s imperative that we train up the next generation in these skills, which is exactly what the Forestry Education and Workforce Development Act would do. I thank Congressman Fulcher for his leadership on this issue, and look forward to supporting this bill as it moves through the legislative process.”

“Forests are critical to Idaho’s future, and an educated forestry workforce is critical to sustaining our forests. Rep. Fulcher’s bill will help ensure that we can find workers with the skills and knowledge necessary to manage these important renewable resources, including our public forests,” added Tom Schultz, Vice President, Idaho Forest Group and President, Federal Forest Resource Coalition. “Ranking Member Fulcher’s bill also focuses on expanding reforestation, which is increasingly important as we work to restore our public forests in the wake of recent devastating wildfires. We look forward to working with him to secure passage of this important bill.”

Wendi Secrist, Executive Director of the Idaho Workforce Development Council commented, “Idaho’s forest products industry provides great opportunities for high-skill, high-wage jobs. The Workforce Development Council appreciates Congressman Fulcher’s foresight in championing funding to develop this workforce in partnership with our post-secondary institutions.”


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