The Stewards of Eagles Nest are partnering with the Bancroft and Area Forest Industry Association to create an environmental education program.

President of Bancroft & Area Forest Industry Association Virginia deCarle, who also sits on the Stewards board, created a program called “Nature Connects and Forestry Education.” She says the program is based around teaching people to be good stewards of the land, local tree species, diseases that affect them while connecting them to nature. deCarle says they want to spread a positive message and create awareness about the forest industry in the area.

“We’re hoping this will become bigger because we have so many awesome resources,” she says.

The grant they are applying for is called the “TD Friends of the Environment.” The Town of Bancroft is helping deCarle and the Stewards submit the application. Chair of the Stewards Dora Yateman explains that since they’re not a charity of a municipality, they can’t submit it. She explains that the Town does not need to put up any money or write the grant. Yateman says all the Town needs to do is submit it for January 15th, which they approved at council on January 14th.

“Virginia has the background and the knowledge and that’s to our advantage, and the program has already been developed,” Yateman says about why they’re teaming up with deCarle.

“The proposed program would include the development of educational materials and an on-site facilitator who would carry out the programming with members of the public, children from the Experience Summer Camp and potentially schools in September,” Yateman says.

deCarle says the program is developed for children, but it can be “revamped” for any age group.

She says she has made a slideshow that goes through much of the basics of the forest industry like what jobs are available through it, different tree species, the diseases a tree could suffer from, and what it means to work in the industry. “The really important part is going out in nature for a walk,” deCarle says. With areas like Eagles Nest and Vance Farm Park, she says they’re lucky to have those areas to use to explain to people what the forest industry is. “The indigenous history is extremely important,” she adds.

“There are many many things to talk about, sometimes I wish I had three days with people to talk about it,” deCarle jokes.

deCarle says they want to teach people about the facts of the forest industry. She says it’s important for people to understand what they have in their own backyard, and also to teach tourists about one of the most popular industries in the area.