Forestry Programs

Southern Illinois Beginning Forest Landowner Program

Chainsaw Training

Own a forest, but not sure how to care for it? New forest landowners or forest landowners new to management are invited to participate and learn how to actively manage their woodlands to meet their goals. 

Gain experience in basic forest and natural resource management and management planning with this year-long program covering the 16 southernmost counties of Illinois. The program includes full-day instructional sessions and hands-on field days led by Illinois Extension Forestry staff and program partners. Students gain knowledge and theory in the classroom setting and then meet in the field with a forestry professional in order to observe and participate in the implementation of forest management to increase their comfort level and understand how the theory works on the ground. Students will also be connected with a peer mentor and long-term community of support.

Participants will walk away with the confidence to begin managing or planning management for their forested land. They will also take with them a package of curriculum assembled by forestry professionals of southern Illinois and collected over the course of the year.  

Program Partners

This program is made possible through collaboration between University of Illinois Extension Forestry and the Illinois Forestry Association, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, the Shawnee Resource Conservation & Development Area, the Nature Conservancy, the Southern Illinois Prescribed Burn Association, and the River to River Cooperative Weed Management Area.

Topics: Forest ecology, tree identification, the timber harvesting process, thinning and pruning, managing for wildlife, invasive species control, prescribed burning, and more!


The 2022 program is in progress, but be on the lookout for the 2023 class registration. If you would like to be notified when applications open for 2023, email Taryn Bieri at

Questions? Contact Project Coordinator Taryn Bieri at

Upcoming Programs

Check the events page for a list of upcoming forestry programs. The forestry program is available to provide educational programming and outreach in these areas: 

  • Chainsaw safety and directional felling
  • Invasive species identification and management
  • Forest management and restoration 
  • Timber harvesting and timber tax
  • Maple syrup collection and processing
  • Plant / Tree identification
  • Forest health and mitigation
  • Agroforestry
  • Urban and community forestry

Annual conferences and workshops: