Updated: December 14, 2021
By Andrew Kling

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"The Mad Scientist of Pawpaws"

Pawpaws - the source of food for countless generations of Native Americans and early Europeans to the continent - are having a renaissance of sorts. And while you won’t find them in supermarkets like other native fruits (think blueberries), one man has devoted a large part of his life to the preservation, cultivation, and expansion of pawpaws. 

Read about the pioneering efforts of Neal Peterson, who has been called the “Johnny Appleseed of pawpaws” and has trademarked seven different varieties, with names like Potomac, Susquehanna, and Shenandoah.

Photo by Helen Norman for gardenandgun.com
Photo by Helen Norman for gardenandgun.com

Mike Kay Chosen as National Tree Farm Inspector of the Year

Mike Kay, Project Manager for Frederick/Washington Counties, has been recognized as the 2021 National Tree Farm Inspector of the Year.

Mike Kays. Photo by Maryland DNR.
Mike Kay. Photo by Maryland DNR.

Kay is the first inspector from Maryland to receive this award since the program began over forty years ago, although several inspectors have been in the running for the national award as regional nominees.

Kenneth Jolly, acting director of the Maryland State Forester, wrote in his nomination, “Mike Kay easily ranks as the most productive Tree Farm Inspector in the entire state of Maryland, claiming the top spot in the state in 2020 with the highest number of Tree Farms enrolled in the program – 122 total – as well as the largest acreage – 17,405 acres – in his assigned area of Frederick County.  These are huge numbers in the state of Maryland – representing 15% of all Tree Farms in the state and 17% of the total acreage.” Congratulations, Mike!

State Forest Work Plans Available for Public Comment

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service is seeking public input about a series of annual work plans for four state forests. This annual process rotates through the forests across the state, as the Forest Service invites the public to comment on how these valuable resources are managed.

This year, the Forest Service wants feedback about proposed work plans for Chesapeake/Pocomoke, Green Ridge, Potomac-Garrett, and Savage River state forests. 

Annual work plans help the department identify priorities within the scope of the forests’ long-range management. They address composition, establishment, growth, health, and quality along with construction and maintenance projects.

The public comment period closes March 5. For more information, visit: https://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/workplans.aspx.

Coming this Spring: A New Look for our Website

Screenshot of new website banner and photo
Screenshot of new website banner, logo, and front page. Coming soon!

The Woodland Stewardship Education program, as part of the University of Maryland Extension, is getting a long-anticipated website upgrade. The rollout is part of a larger re-branding of Extension and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and is expected to take place this spring.

With the new site will be a greater connection to our online courses, our video presentations, and our publication resources. The site will be a work in progress for a while, as we work to get all our content from the old to the new (such as making selected back issues of Branching Out available), but the new site promises to have better search functions and will be more mobile-friendly.

Please take a look and let us know what you think!