The Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources’ Continuing Education Program:  New Director, Expanded Course Offerings on the Horizon


Note from Clay Altizer, FRA Southwide Region Manager

Dr. James Johnson recently contacted FRA to introduce himself as the University of Georgia’s newly hired Continuing Education (CE) Director for the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and to request FRA’s help with promoting his CE program to a broader audience of forest products industry professionals. Dr. Johnson’s goal is to expand the reach of his program beyond the state of Georgia, and he invites FRA member input on sharing any knowledge gaps that currently exist for forest products industry professionals. Please contact him directly with any suggestions, comments, or input that will assist him with enhancing their CE program course lineup. The Woods to Mill article below is a modified version of an article that recently appeared in a Warnell newsletter.

The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Dr. James Johnson as the new director of the Continuing Education Program (CE). Dr. Johnson is a Warnell alum, having earned his Ph.D. in wildlife management from the school in 2019, and brings with him a wealth of experience in the field of forestry and wildlife management.

The Continuing Education Program at Warnell is designed to provide natural resource management professionals with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and learn new skills they need to excel in their roles and maintain their professional credentials. With Dr. Johnson at the helm, the program is poised to expand course offerings and provide even more opportunities for professional growth and development.

One of the main goals of the program is to provide a variety of courses that are both relevant and accessible to natural resource professionals. To this end, the program will offer courses virtually, in person, and at locations throughout the southeast. The program will also introduce new courses to meet the changing needs of the industry.

Below is a list of the current Continuing Education courses provided by Warnell, along with a brief description. Please follow the embedded link within each title for more information, and stay tuned for more courses in the future.   

Shortleaf Pine Establishment and Management Workshop 

When: August 15-16, 2023

Where: Zoom Webinar

Description: Shortleaf pine has the largest native range of the four major southern pine species, but it has lagged behind other southern pines in terms of management effort and research. In addition, the area of forests dominated by shortleaf pine has declined by more than 50% in the past 40 years, increasing the importance of regional restoration efforts. Increased interest in managing and restoring shortleaf pine began about ten years ago with several federal, state, university, and NGO partners launching the Shortleaf Pine Initiative. Shortleaf pine has many desirable traits that may be attractive to landowners and managers with certain objectives. Traits such as great longevity; good self-pruning; drought resistance; thick, insulating bark; rot resistance of fire scars; seedling and sapling sprouting capability; greater snow and ice tolerance than other southern pines; and dense wood properties make shortleaf pine an excellent species to manage on a variety of sites. Shortleaf pine management shares some commonalities with other southern pines, but management tailored to shortleaf pine based on decades of research findings and field observations will be covered in this workshop. Anyone interested in learning more about shortleaf pine ecology and management is encouraged to attend.

Pine Straw Production – Stand Management and Economics

When: September 12-13, 2023

Where: Bulloch County Ag Center – Statesboro, GA

Description: Revenues for pine straw paid to forest landowners in Georgia have increased from an estimated $15.5 million in 1999 to $25 million in 2003, $50 million in 2007, $80 million in 2008 –2011, to $60-$80 million in 2013-2020, to $138 million in 2021. From 1999 through 2020, pine chip-n-saw and sawtimber stumpage revenues in Georgia have declined by roughly 25% – 35%. Many forest landowners and land managers are interested in managing their longleaf or slash pine stands for pine straw. This course will provide information necessary to effectively manage pine stands for pine straw.

Conservation Easements & Ecological Services – An Update

When: September 27-28, 2023

Where: Flinchum’s Phoenix – Athens, GA

Description: Join us to learn about recent trends and legislation involving conservation easements and ecological services. Attorneys David Aughtry and Katherine Eddins, appraiser Michael Odom, and an accountant will give updates on conservation easements. Josh Yearout, with Kimmeridge Investment firm, working in the carbon space, will give a presentation on carbon credit opportunities. Sharon Swagger with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will speak on various government-funded conservation easement-type programs. Dr. Yanshu Li and Wendy Ledbetter will update us on forest economics and other trends. Jennifer Pahl with Corblu will update us on mitigation banking. Drew Ruttinger, regional stewardship manager for Georgia-Alabama Land Trust, will discuss baselines and emerging technology. Dr. Harry Haney will be available to provide a retrospective on the above.  

Log Trucking Solutions: Cost, Safety, and Technology

When: October 6, 2023

Where: Georgia Forestry Association – Forsyth, GA

Description: This course will cover current challenges and opportunities in the timber transportation sector. Course content will focus on trends, recent research, and tools to improve timber transportation efficiency, safety, and profitability. We will cover transportation challenges, trucking safety, log truck insurance premiums trends, and opportunities to reduce liability risk. We will share recent research on recruiting, retaining, and training safe truck drivers. We will provide instruction and examples of both logging and trucking production analysis, along with opportunities for fleet management and incorporating technology to improve trucking productivity. We will detail the development of fuel cost adjustments and examples of trucking cost analysis strategies. Innovative solutions and case studies will be provided that highlight examples of successful business practices in timber transportation. Upon completing this course, participants should be well-equipped to apply cost, safety, and technology solutions to a wide range of timber transportation challenges.

Deer Management and Forestry BMPs – (Virtual Option & In-Person Option)

When: October 12, 2023 (Zoom) & December 14, 2023 (In-person)

Where: Zoom Meeting & Carroll County Ag-Ed Center – Carrollton, GA

Description: This virtual and in-person short course aims to provide technical information on specific techniques, including forestry best management practices (BMPs), used to enhance and preserve wildlife habitat on forested land. Topics will include forestry BMPs and white-tailed deer ecology and management. We will cover the basics of deer ecology and their effects on forest health, camera surveys for deer, and food plot management. The course is designed to offer the community of professional loggers all of the Continuing Logger Education yearly renewal credits required by the GA-Master Timber Harvester Program. 

Healthy Forests: Managing for bugs, wildlife, and big trees

When: October 25-26, 2023

Where: Flinchum’s Phoenix – Athens, GA

Description: Course content will center on landscape-scale forest management issues related to silviculture, wildlife management, forest health, and water quality. Topics include Silvicultural tactics from site prep to final harvest, Forest insect management tactics, Forest management strategies to enhance wildlife populations and water quality, Forest taxation, Prescribed fires, and Hands-on training in forest insects, water quality monitoring, and wildlife management.

In addition, the Warnell Continuing Education Program is committed to being responsive to the needs of our target audiences. The program is open to new ideas and recommendations from professionals in the field and is dedicated to tailoring the program to meet the specific training needs of its audience.

To further enhance the program’s accessibility, a new and improved website was launched this year ( with several new updates and quality-of-life improvements. The website provides a central location for professionals to find information about the program’s CE offerings and to register for courses.

Dr. Johnson is excited to take on his new role as the Continuing Education Program director and is eager to connect with professionals in the field. If you have any questions or would like to be added to the Continuing Education mailing list, please contact him at [email protected]. The Warnell Continuing Education Program is committed to helping professionals stay up to date with the latest techniques and technologies and providing them with the skills they need to succeed.