Master Woodland Steward is a comprehensive education program that teaches family forest owners and forest caretakers the ins and outs of forest health, monetizing your land, management for recreation and wildlife, estate planning and taxes, and more.
The Master Woodland Steward program uses a hybrid course design. Each unit is presented as an online, self-paced module with readings, exercises and a group discussion board. Semi-regular Zoom meetings give learners a chance to ask questions of instructors and contribute to group learning by sharing their own experiences. Participants also attend three in-person field sessions throughout the course and complete a capstone project.
If you own property with woodlands, steward woodlands, or are looking to buy wooded property and just want to see what you’re in for, the Master Woodland Steward program can help you become a successful woodland steward.
At the end of this course, you’ll be able to:
- Consider the different reasons and ways to manage your woods.
- Determine and prioritize your goals for your land.
- Identify common native trees and invasive plants.
- Select appropriate trees for your woodland and know how to plant them.
- Map your property and conduct a woodland inventory.
- Meet and talk with local natural resources professionals.
- Confidently make decisions for the logging and marketing of timber.
- Discuss the financial considerations of land ownership (including tax incentives and estate planning) with your family and financial advisors.
- Develop specific actions that will provide a path to leaving your land in a better condition for future generations.
- Serve as a mentor to other private woodland owners and stewards.
What you can expect from us:
- An expert-led, research-based educational program.
- Instructor feedback to your questions and concerns within 48 hours.
- New options, new ideas, and specific actions that will provide a path to leaving your land in a better condition for future generations.
What we expect from you:
- Completion of the online course modules.
- Participation in course discussion boards and Zoom meetings.
- Attend the in-person field tours as you are able.
Students will be graded based on weekly assignments, participation in discussions, and completion of a final capstone project. If students meet requirements to complete, they will have an actionable stewardship project to implement on their property, as well as a certificate of completion.
We are committed to providing quality education in a way that works for you. This course offers flexibility by offering content both online and in person. What does this look like?
- 1 - 2 hours of self-paced reading and assignments each week. Fourteen self-paced online modules are offered through the course website. Modules contain pre-recorded videos, exercises, and group discussions on woodland stewardship topics.
- Online meetings on Zoom. Three online meet-ups over Zoom will give you direct access to Extension and local forestry experts as they present on different topics related to the health of your woodland. Ask them your questions, and share your own knowledge and experience with your peers.
- In person field tours. Three in-person field tours will give you a chance to see a number of woodland stewardship projects. Instructors will guide your visit and answer your questions, and you will have an opportunity to meet with and learn from natural resource professionals and fellow woodland owners.
See our sample syllabus for a typical course outline and schedule.
In order to successfully participate in this course, you will need a computer, tablet or smartphone with:
- Internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 1.0 Mbps/600kbps (up/down).
- Headset with microphone, or headphones to use with your device’s built-in mic.
- Webcam for synchronous meetings.
- Canvas learning management access (system requirements).
- Zoom online meeting platform access (system requirements).
- 2016 - Southeast
- 2017 - Metro
- 2017 - Laurentian
- 2017 - North Shore
- 2018 - Central Lakes
- 2018 - Kettle River
- 2019 - Avon Hills
- 2019 - Farms and Woodlands
- 2020 - North Shore Lost Forest
- 2021 - Climate and Carbon
- 2022 - Itasca