Our Projects

​Since its inception in 2013 as one of only a handful of similar programs nationwide, the Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project has grown immensely:​

  • The project is assisting more than 225 landowners owning approximately 11,000 acres
  • 120 Forest Management Plans have been created for approximately 6,300 acres
  • 16 landowners have enrolled in the North Carolina Tree Farm Program
  • Approximately 6,400 acres are enrolled in the Present Use Valuation program that provides an economic benefit through the reduction of property taxes

Sustainable forestry and land retention practices include:

  • planting trees after harvest
  • detailed forest management plans
  • developing wills and clearing the title of heirs’ property
  • timber sales

Some of Our Success Stories

James Peterson standing on his farmlandNorthampton Co. Landowner Profile: Keeping the Land in the Family

​The project partnered with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment Forestry Master’s Program students to develop a forest management plan for project landowner James Roger Peterson as part of their Master’s Program curriculum. A lengthy article on the collaboration ran in the Spring 2018 issue of DukeEnvironment magazine. The Nicholas School also produced a six-minute video on the partnership.


Avis Gray: Former Land Inheritor, Now a Forester

In this “Faces of the Forest” video, landowner Avis Gray shares the story of her transformation into a passionate forester and farmer on the 67 acres in Windsor, N.C., that she inherited from her grandfather in 2011 — part of what once was a much larger holding originally acquired by her great-great-grandfather.


Curtis and LaDonna Barnes with a sign for their tree farm

Forest Certification

​Curtis and LaDonna Barnes own a 36-acre farm that includes 17 acres of loblolly pine trees. Their project participation achieved the development of a forest management plan that earned their property a North Carolina Tree Farm forest certification.



William and Regenia Battles with Alton PerryTimber Sales

Landowners William and Regenia Battle (pictured with Alton Perry) accept a participation certificate following development of a forest management plan that recommends a timber sale.


Two 4H students conducting a laboratory water test

Career Opportunities

Engagement with young people like these 4-H students conducting a water test (left) is a fundamental element of the project. We organized the second annual Youth STEAM Summit for middle and high school students on July 25, 2019, to highlight opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math. In the agricultural area, topics included land ethics, forestry and career pathways. More than 80 students participated.