Let me begin my message by thanking you for your enthusiastic support and for your generous contributions. This past year has been a good one for the Foundation. Thanks to a booming stock market and your donations we were again able to increase our support for both the educational programs and our scholarships. As an example in 2007, we contributed $4,000 to fund Forestry Internships at four 4-H Centers. This year we are contributing $16,000 to the Centers. That is a fourfold increase.
The Foundation has recently completed its 59th year of supporting forestry and forest products education in the Commonwealth. It all started when Paul Mellon of Upperville challenged a group of Virginia’s forestry and industrial leaders to match his $25,000 donation. It took them five years to raise that amount but when they did, the Foundation was off and running. Victor W. Stewart, our first president, led the way by endowing the first scholarship which now sends $6,000 to support deserving students at Virginia Tech. Donor designated scholarships are the greatest expenditure of the Foundation. They are known as General Fund and Stuermann. These scholarships provide some seventy percent of the scholarships awarded by Tech’s College of Natural Resources and the Environment.
The Foundation has also taken on new educational programs like SAF’s “Teaching Trees, Teaching Teachers” This Program is designed to give teachers “factual and credible information about Virginia’s hardwood forest” and a number of forest management techniques are reviewed. For years Project Learning Tree has been supported, in fact it is our biggest educational outlay. PLT is an environmental educational program designed for teachers and other leaders working with youth from kindergarten through grade 12. In 2016, 560 educators attended PLT training events in Virginia. The events consist of day-long workshops offered at schools and other public centers and allows teachers to relate to natural resource professionals who can act as “experts” in their field of expertise. Other educational programs supported by the Foundation include: Awards and Recognition for 4-H Forestry and the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp.
We at the Foundation think the future offers a number of challenges and opportunities for forest resource education. Virginia is becoming more urban and our citizens need to be made aware of the importance of the forestry and forest products industry. Together, they contribute substantially to our economy ($21 billion annually per the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website) and they also provide a number of environmental benefits including carbon sequestration.
Therefore our efforts going forward need to be directed to expanding state-wide youth (PreK-12) educational programs that promote sustainable forests for the environmental, social and economic benefits of all Virginians.
If you are aware of a program that might benefit from the VFEF support, contact us at 804-278-8733. Thank you.
Today Flippo Lumber, located in Doswell, VA, is a producer of Southern pine dimensional lumber, 2 X 4s thru 2 X 10s, decking, and some timbers. Their biggest customer base is pressure treating plants and pallet operations.
Back when VFEF was just getting started they produced rough green lumber and excelsior. The rough green lumber was sold to local planing mills; excelsior was used in packing materials and padding in such things as foot stools. Excelsior has been replaced by Styrofoam peanuts.
When Paul Mellon challenged fellow forestry leaders to raise money to start the Virginia Forestry Education Foundation (VFEF) to continue educating our youth about forestry, Jack Ferguson approached Carter Flippo to get the donations rolling. They were the first to contribute.
Since then Carter Flippo, his brother Arthur, as well as Flippo Lumber have been very generous to VFEF. Over the past 28 years, the Jane and Arthur Flippo Foundation has been one of the biggest donors to VFEF.
The Flippos have always volunteered their time to the industry, with Carter and Arthur both serving as past presidents of Virginia Forestry Association. The current president of Flippo Lumber is Carter’s son, Nelson Flippo. He is a past president of Southeast Lumber Manufacturers, Virginia Lumber Manufacturers, and was the first chair of our state’s Board of Forestry, which he chaired for 8 years. Nelson’s son T.C. is also a past president of the Virginia Lumber Manufacturers Association, and his daughter Elizabeth Flippo Hutchins is currently on the Virginia Board of Forestry. The Flippo family truly leads the way in forestry awareness and conservation, and the continuing principals that Carter Flippo envisioned back in the 1950s are in full force today.
Youth education is the only way to sustain our forest and our forest industry, and donations to VFEF make that education possible.
Please join me in donating to the VFEF by going to our website (www.VFEF.net).
J. Peyton Phillips, Director, Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation
When Ken Morgan asked me to serve on the Board for the Virginia Forestry Educational Foundation (VFEF), I accepted without hesitation. Ken wasn’t necessarily looking for a quick yes, and he used the opportunity to tell me about how personally rewarding it had been for him to be on the Board and to support the VFEF. He also took the opportunity to explain what the mission of VFEF is and detailed some of the programs the Foundation supports. One area, as he explained, was the awarding of scholarships to forestry students at Virginia Tech and the impact that the scholarships can make for students. In that sense, Ken was preaching to the choir. Scholarships at Virginia Tech had given me the opportunity that I needed to pursue my career in forestry, and were a real life changer for me.
Having grown up in Emporia in rural southeast Virginia, I was exposed to forestry early on. Forestry was everywhere -- in industry, logging, or just riding through the countryside. Southeast VA was noted for the three P’s – Pine trees, Pork, and Peanuts. Along with the forestry business, the forest resources attracted something else to our community and that was, as you can imagine…foresters. I got to personally know many of them and looked up to them, some were active leaders in our church and others I met as they stopped in for a friendly visit at my Dad’s place of business. It was in those formative years that I realized that becoming a forester was my dream job.
Fast forward 40 years (which is more years than I like to admit), and forestry remains my dream job. It’s been a satisfying and fulfilling career that, and as I look back, I wouldn’t change a thing if I did it all over again. It is important that I not lose sight of what gave me a jump start to pursue my dreams – education and the additional financial support to obtain that education through scholarships. In addition, the support from family, friends, and some great folks that I worked with along the way.
Now that I have served a year on the Board, I’ve seen first-hand the VFEF’s involvement and the positive results of their efforts. I had no idea the magnitude of its support level nor the number of youths that it reaches out to each year. Remarkably it’s done this since the 1950’s. Here are some of the VFEF’s efforts in just 2016 alone:
I’ve also seen that funding for these programs comes from many generous donors, as well as from dividends in well-chosen mutual fund investments. But it takes continuous financial support for the VFEF to maintain this high level of participation and success. Please consider making a tax-free donation to support two very worthy causes for generations to come - our youth and forestry education in Virginia! After all, your gift could very well be a life changer! For more information about this valuable Foundation, or to make a contribution, please visit www.vfef.net.
James "Jimmy" Jones,