EPN Webinar - June 16, 2020 Women Owning Woodlands: Networks for inclusive land stewardship

Women are woodland stewards around the globe. They participate in stewardship on their own property, within their local community, or on shared public lands. When looking at woodland owners, researchers find that similar proportions of women and men hope to inherit their family forestland, yet fewer women than men have been involved in management of the family forest [1]. In the US, women tend to outlive men, with a life expectancy of an additional five years on average. This means that it is likely that final land use decisions, including selling or dividing land, will be made by women [2]. 

Women Owning Woodlands (WOW) is a national movement striving to provide topical, accessible, and current forestry and natural resources information, and support women in forest leadership. WOW consists of women who own and manage their own woodlands, and all who facilitate the stewardship of forests. WOW utilizes peer learning so that female professionals, landowners, and enthusiasts can learn from one another. The networking opportunities that WOW provides for female natural resources professionals have also proven to be very valuable.

Learn from leaders of Ohio’s two regional chapters about how WOW is impacting their local community.  Partners will also share how WOW helps to accomplish state level stewardship objectives, while tailoring messaging towards local needs. One key partner that guides messaging around oak ecosystems and management in SE Ohio is the Interagency Forestry Team. Holden Forests and Gardens coordinates much of the current programming in northeast Ohio. Ohio WOW initiatives help raise general awareness of forest health, management, and knowledge of basic forestry, utilizing resources from many partners in the natural resources community.

This program will feature three brief presentations and lots of time for audience Q&A and interaction. Just like all WOW and EPN programs, all natural resource enthusiasts are welcome! We hope you join us to learn about this important movement to increase the capacity and diversity of decision-making in Ohio’s forests and to grow your social network in this field.

[1] Mater, Catherine. "Family Forests: What will the next generation do?" Presented at the National Association of State Foresters Annual Meeting, Madison, WI. October 2005. 

[2] Butler, Sarah M.; Huff, Emily S.; Snyder, Stephanie A.; Butler, Brett J.; Tyrrell, Mary. 2017. The Role of Gender in Management Behaviors on Family Forest Lands in the United States. Journal of Forestry. 116(1): 32-40. Available at https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/55195


9:45 a.m. Waiting room opens 

10:00 a.m. Jeff Sharp, PhD. director, School of Environment and Natural Resources provides welcome remarks.  

Jamie Dahl, forest outreach coordinator, Central State University Extension and McIntire-Stennis Program, and Jenna Balazs, AmeriCorps environmental educator, Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District provide a National WOW overview and inclusive stewardship of natural resources.

Dani Gill, wildlife specialist/forester/technician, Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District, Southeast Ohio WOW contact, and Jessica Miller, community forester, Holden Forests & Gardens, Northeast Ohio WOW contact present “What’s happening in Ohio WOW chapters?”

Stephanie Downs, southern region service forestry coordinator, ODNR Division of Forestry discusses the WOW contributions to forestry education and outreach in Ohio from state perspective, and connections to the Ohio Interagency Forestry Team.

11:15 a.m. Program concludes

Please note: Opportunities for Audience Q&A with the Speakers will be available throughout the program.


Jenna Balazs pic

Jenna Balazs, AmeriCorps environmental educator, Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District

Jenna Balazs is in her third year of AmeriCorps service with the Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District, serving as an environmental educator. Her undergraduate degree is in Public Health and Sociology from the University of Mount Union. She then went on to Kent State University for her Master’s in Public Health with an Environmental Health Science concentration. 


Jamie Dahl headshot

Jamie Dahl, forest outreach coordinator, Central State University Extension and McIntire-Stennis Program 

Jamie Dahl works in forestry outreach and education for Central State University Extension. She has previously worked on forestry, natural resource management and public outreach projects in Pennsylvania and Colorado. She is an active member of the Society of American Foresters. Jamie received her M.S. in Forest Resources, Wood Procurement and Utilization and a B.S. in Forest Management from The Pennsylvania State University.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Higher Education Leadership at Colorado State University with a focus on social science and inclusion within natural resources. 


Stephanie Downs

Stephanie Downs, southern region service forestry coordinator/NRCS liaison, ODNR Division of Forestry 

Stephanie Downs works with private lands forestry in southern Ohio.  She is currently the state service forester for Fairfield County, and coordinates private woodlands assistance with seven other state service foresters in the region.  Stephanie also serves as the liaison with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, where she helps coordinate programs that offer financial assistance for woodland owners sustainably managing their woods.  Stephanie has previously worked in forest health, assisting with surveys and management for invasive insects, diseases, and plants.  For five years, she taught in the Forest Management Program at Hocking College.  Stephanie is an active member of the Society of American Foresters, serving as the secretary for the Ohio Chapter.  She has a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife Management and an M.S. in Natural Resources, both from The Ohio State University.


Dani Gill headshot

Dani Gill, wildlife specialist/forester/district technician, Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District, SE Ohio WOW contact

Dani Gill works in natural resource management and outreach as the wildlife specialist/forester/district technician with Hocking Soil & Water Conservation District. She previously worked in forestry management and environmental education in Ohio. Dani received her B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife Management from The Ohio State University.


Jessica Miller

Jessica Miller, community forester, Holden Forests & Gardens, Northeast Ohio WOW contact

Jessica Miller advances community forestry and conservation in Northeast Ohio as Community Forester at Holden Forests and Gardens. She has previously worked as a land manager, environmental educator, and field botanist in the region, and is a member of the Society of American Foresters. Jessica received her B.S. and B.A. in Biology and English from Calvin College with a focus on ecosystem management and environmental literature.