Vinnie Marold owns 220 acres of forestland in Cherry Grove Township, Warren County and an additional 50 acres in McKean County. He has mentioned that it was his dream when he was younger to be a forester.
(Photo: Laura Ayers, Natural Resources Conservation Service (right) and Tyler Chamberlin, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (left) present the 2019 Forest Landowner of the Year award to Vinnie Marold (center).
Life took him a different direction, but now he is returning to his dream. Vinnie always wants to do the best for the land and has educated himself through self-study and attendance at conferences and meetings. One of his greatest concerns now is protection of the Ash trees, and has even invested in inoculating trees on his property in hopes of saving them.
In the time that he has been working with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), it has been evident that Vinnie cares for the land and trees, and the wildlife that call it home.
Vinnie first reached out to the Warren County NRCS office in 2015 requesting a Forest Management Plan for his properties in Warren and McKean counties. Although it took several years for funding to become available, he was awarded a contract in 2018 through the EQIP-Joint Chiefs grant for the development of a comprehensive Forest Management Plan for all his wooded acres in Warren and McKean counties. The objectives outlined in the plan include: improve both forest overstory and understory health; rehabilitate the stands from past timber sales; enjoy the aesthetic benefits of the property; provide riparian habitat; promote songbird, woodcock, ruffed grouse, and turkey habitat as well as mammal habitat; and create a family legacy to pass on to future generations.
While working on the development of the Forest Management Plan, Vinnie also became interested in Cerulean Warbler habitat on his property as part of his overall sustainable management of the forest.
Vinnie worked with the Cerulean Warbler forester in development of a plan for a portion of his property that is prime habitat for the songbird. The goals of the plan were overall forest health with an emphasis on oak stands and habitat for the Cerulean Warbler. The goals of the plan lined up with Vinnie’s goals for the property, and he decided to move forward with a federal contract to help with completion of the projects.
Each of the planned practices are aimed at controlling noxious and invasive herbaceous and woody species and opening up the forest canopy to allow the healthy, desirable trees to continue to grow. The planned practices will enhance the Cerulean Warbler habitat and benefit the overall health of the forest.
The work completed so far includes Herbaceous Weed Treatment: Treatment of undesirable herbaceous plant species which included hay-scented ferns and Brush Management: Treatment of undesirable woody shrub species which include striped maple, black birch, and American beech.
Mechanized, broadcast application of herbicide was used to treat the 33.5-acre target area. Forest Stand Improvement is scheduled to be completed in 2020 in the same area. Under this practice, low-quality trees will be removed to increase growing space around desirable black cherry trees. Canopy gaps will also be created to improve cerulean warbler habitat.
While a lot of work has been done in Vinnie’s woods, this is just the beginning. Vinnie has a long-term vision for the property: to enhance and protect it and to pass it on to future generations in better condition than when he started.