There has been a wonderful and significant subscription to this site in response to recent news releases. It seems reasonable to share some perspective on how you can make use of the site. I want to share a few specific ideas on how I think this site can be optimally useful, and what the ForestConnect team is planning to provide. Please take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with the blog (your current location), the forum, pictures, and events calendar.
First, this is a social network site centered on the sustainable management of private woodlands. As a Cornell site, the emphasis will be on sharing knowledge based on research and experience, but importantly also asking questions for clarification of subjects towards an understanding of what is true. Thus the content should focus on sustaining private woodlands, or have some obvious connection to the subject. This is not a market place and efforts to sell goods or services are discouraged. Note that anyone can view the content, but only registered members can post items.
As a social network site, what we hope to encourage is sharing, debating and learning ideas related to sustaining private woodlands. Although I hope to post useful content 4 or 5 times per week, the real value will come with interaction among the members. Members are encouraged to post questions or answers in the forum, add pictures that illustrate some aspect (or not) of good forestry, post events in your community, and respond to blog posts. The forum and pictures are particularly good places to share; note for example the tree quiz pictures and your ability to post your identification or ask for clarification of features. The forum is intended to both share a question and response, but to solicit your input on the questions. The forum is moderated by Cornell University Cooperative Extension Educators to ensure timely and informed responses. The forum also allows for subsequent responses. A good example was a response I posted on control of black locust and a follow up post suggesting another management strategy. We collectively have great knowledge through our experiences and observations, but that is lost if we don’t share.
A word of caution is warranted. Although we will not allow something blatantly incorrect to be left without comment in the forum or blog, some solutions may have application in some but not other circumstances. Feel free to ask questions for clarification of when or where some strategies may have greater or lesser effectiveness.
A special section of the forum is called “project profiles.” In this section, we will post detailed results and outcomes of projects that typically include a well-developed analysis of a problem and multiple examples of educational materials related to the problem. (I’m working on a nicer format for the content). The impetus for project profiles is to have a repository for people who seek guidance on common problems. We should be working on common problems, and the project profiles provide an accessible outlet. If you have a subject for the project profiles, please be sure to let one of the site administrators know of your interest.
The "we" mentioned above are people currently subscribed as administrators, including B. Chedzoy, R. Hargrave, K. Sullivan, and R. Taber...plus yours truly. Others are being recruited for their involvement. Feel free to contact any of us with questions or comments.
The blog posts are intended to share current issues or events that some members (and those lurking in cyber space) may find interesting. I or others will typically pull something we find on the internet and share that with some annotation of the topic. These may take on a technical or philosophical nature.