Master Woodland Managers Course

Jesse A. Randall, Faculty, Natural Resource Ecology and Management


Of the 2.8 million acres of forested lands in Iowa, roughly 92% are privately owned. Often times, silviculturally appropriate management practices are unknown to the landowners leading to either no management or chronic mismanagement. As timberland ownership demographics have changed here in Iowa, the information needs have expanded and now range from the classic timber harvesting regimes to conservation of rare/endemic flora and fauna. The Master Woodland Managers Course was created in 1988 to provide educational opportunities to interested woodland owners and to serve as a catalyst to promote forestry in Iowa through a mandatory volunteer portion of the course.


This educational program involves 32 hours of intensive forestry instruction designed specifically for woodland owners or managers, public land managers, and natural resource consultants. Course instruction focuses on various aspects of woodland management including tree and shrub identification, basic tree biology, forest ecology, land and tree measurements, protection from insects and diseases, tree planting, wildlife management, timber economics, marketing and wood utilization, as well as management plan preparation.


This spring, seventeen southwest Iowa residents completed the Master Woodland Managers Program in Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, and Page Counties. These master woodland managers are now part of the 902 individuals that have completed the course since its inception, and have contributed over 23,500 hours of community service. With the current and predicted influx of disease and insect pests into Iowa, it is increasingly likely that these trained individuals will be the primary contact between landowners with little or no training and the Universitys Extension services. The most recent group of graduates have expressed an interest in expanding their volunteer outreach by conducting several forestry related field days in SW Iowa where forestry oriented courses have been sparse.


After a one year Course layoff due to a faculty retirement and the subsequent hiring of a new extension forester, the course in SW Iowa renewed and strengthened the strong ties between Iowa State University Forestry Extension, the Forestry Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Tree Farm Committee and the Iowa Woodland Owners Association. A one day Master Woodland Managers Reunion for all past participants is currently being planned for spring of 08 and tentatively includes a John Deere forestry equipment plant tour and demonstration, tree disease and invasive insect updates, and hands on training for EAB detection.

The following individuals have completed the SW Iowa MWM course:

Adam Johnston   Onawa 
Bill Kathol     Papillion     
Connie Cade     Clarinda      
Derry Wolford   Shenandoah    
Diane Birkby    Thurman
Doug Kuhlmann   Onawa 
Gene Dollen     Persia
Georgine Wessell        Onawa 
James Rost      Farragut      
Jerry G Birkby  Thurman
Kevin Brannen   Shenandoah    
Leon Fleming    Sidney
Linda Head      Papillion     
Mark Birkby     Thurman
Mike Laughlin   Shenandoah    
Richard Hester  Walnut
Sharon Yahnke   Sidney

160  Natural Resources and Stewardship

Page last updated: January 10, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz,