Forest Conservancy District Boards

For additional information regarding Forestry Board activities please contact the appropriate county Chairs from the This is a PDF FileMaryland Forestry Boards: Contact Information​.

Maryland's Open Meetings Act
In accordance with Maryland's Open Meetings Act, Forest Conservancy District Boards meeting minutes can be found on this webpage.

MD Association of Forest Conservancy Districts logoMaryland's advocates for trees and forests since 1943

Maryland’s 2.6 million acres of forest land serve the needs of many. Our forests improve water and air quality, provide wood, wildlife food and shelter, recreational opportunities and beauty. As demands on our forests increase, people pressures threaten our woodlands. Maryland is fortunate to have a network of individuals who serve voluntarily on Forestry Boards as advocates for our forests with an eye to the future.

Commonly referred to as Forestry Boards, the Forest Conservancy District Boards function in all jurisdictions— 23 Maryland Counties and Baltimore City. The 24 boards are joined in a State Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards. The Maryland Association provides a means of communication and exchange of ideas among the local boards and acts as a channel to its parent agency, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources-Forest Service (MDNR).

The Forestry Boards were established in 1943 to assist the State’s Forest Park and Wildlife Service with the promotion of rural forest management on privately owned woodlands. Their original goal was to help assure a supply of wood fiber products through scientific forest management. Today, the role of the Forestry Boards has been expanded to help:

  • Restore the Chesapeake Bay,
  • Improve the environment in urban and suburban areas.
  • Educate the general public about the wide range of forest benefits.


75th Celebration of Maryland Forestry Boards
Forestry Board members celebrated 75 years of advocating for
Maryland's trees and forests at their Fall 2018 annual meeting.

Board members work closely with their project foresters and primarily serve as advisory, educational, and facilitating bodies. Under the law, the Boards are required to review and pass on all timber harvest plans in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and approve all such plans in their counties if requested. They may also be called upon to play a role in the management of forest properties subject to easements acquired by local jurisdictions under the Forest Conservation Act. The State Association in concert with the boards previews proposed legislation and represents the interests of forestry with local, state, and federal Legislatures.

To promote the stewardship, conservation, and sustainable use of Maryland’s Forest Resources

Forestry Board Membership

On average, there are around 250 Forestry Board volunteers appointed by the Director of Maryland Forest Service on the recommendation of the members of the Board and the local forester. The requirements for membership are an interest in sustainable forestry and a desire to see our renewable natural resource wisely used and managed. Local leaders, planners, commissioners, tree farmers, forest product workers, arborists, educators, farmers, forest consultants, loggers, forest landowners, and government representatives are but a few of the interest groups represented on the Boards.

The Maryland Forestry Board Association established these objectives of volunteer service:

  • Promote the stewardship, conservation and sustainable use of Maryland’s renewable forest resources, in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
  • Assist the Boards and the Forest Service in the preparation and dissemination of educational material on the value of trees, forests for the Bay, Stewardship and Sustainable Forest Management Plans for small and large landowners, health of our forest, etc. through seminars and other means of communication to students, teachers, decision makers, land-owners, and general public.
  • Serve as an advisory and advocacy board for the Forest Service.
  • Promote cooperation with other forestry related organizations and to further mutually agreed upon objectives.
  • Raise and distribute funds for scholarships, educational material, programs and board activities.


The Maryland Forestry Board Association primarily works through the following committees:

Public Education. Forestry Boards work to increase public awareness of environmental concerns, good sustainable forestry practices and the many benefits of tree cover in rural, urban, suburban and Chesapeake Bay areas. Efforts include Arbor Day ceremonies, school programs such as Schoolyard Reforestation Wildlife Habitat, off-campus reforestation/buffer plantings, and Project Learning Tree - a hands-on learning experience. Boards organize adult programs such as urban/suburban street tree planting, seminars on invasive species, insect and disease control, best management practices, stewardship plans, and sustainable forest management plans. They also provide communications for newspapers, radio, TV and websites.

Natural Resource Careers Camp (NRCC). This seven-day camp is designed for high school students. The Forestry Boards are responsible for recruiting two students from their counties, interviewing, and providing partial scholarships. Students who have reached the age of 16 by the first day of NRCC week may choose to earn two college credits from Allegany College of Maryland by attending the entire week and complete an exam. The credits will transfer to most community colleges in Maryland and several four year colleges and universities. Natural resource professionals have developed the extensive and relevant curriculum. Traditional Forestry is the main focus of this educational experience with the inclusion of GIS and GPS technology, Urban Forestry, Wildlife Habitat, Fisheries, and Watershed ecology are emphasized. This co-educational camp provides an opportunity for high school students interested in a career in Natural Resources to learn from industry professionals and develop contacts for future employment and a career in natural resources.  Click here for applications. Chair: David Keane,

Scholarships. This program administers the awarding of $500 and $1,000 scholarships to college and graduate students who are pursuing careers in Natural Resources.  The specific scholarships and requirements can be found at  Chair: Glenn Ferenschak,

Envirothon. This is a program of the Soil Conservation District (SCD) for high school students. High schools are encouraged to field six-member teams to compete for local, state, and national recognition. One of the permanent segments is dedicated to forestry. Many Forestry Boards have assumed the responsibility for teaching and testing the forestry segment, which also provides excellent candidates for NRCC. Chairs: Forestry Board Chairpersons

Maryland Big Tree Program (MBTP). Started in 1925 by the Maryland State Forester, the Big Tree Program became national in 1940 when adopted by American Forests. The program is designed in part to thank owners, who protect and care for their big trees that contribute thousands of dollars to the health of our environment. Every year dozens of Maryland volunteers measure hundreds of trees across the State, photograph, record GPS locations and register these trees on the State database. Each big tree owner received a certificate of registration, thank-you letter, list of all the trees of that species registered in Maryland, a county-specific brochure, and a bumper sticker proclaiming Proud Owner of a Maryland Big Tree. Ninety percent of our big trees are “back yard trees,” and each proud owner has a story to tell about his or her tree. Chair: John Bennett,

Forest Stewardship - Rural/Suburban/Urban. The loss of forestland and the rapid growth of development has resulted in a decline of large forested acres into smaller lot sizes and fragmentation. Budgets that restrict the writing of management plans to 10 acres and the purchase of forested acres by the public with little or no knowledge of sustainable forestry strongly suggests that we need to develop new procedures to attain a no net loss policy. We are now working on methods to identify and contact large property owners suggesting they have Forest Stewardship-Sustainable Forest Management Plans written for their property. In addition, locating and servicing property owners with under five acres that have either forested or acres that can be forested to our full service of a mini-management plan. It must be recognized that the mini plan will only serve as a guide for small size property owners to practice Sustainable Forestry and will not provide the benefits of a regular plan but will help to contain Fragmentation and forest loss. Chairs: Forestry Board Chairpersons

Maryland Urban Community Forest Committee (MUCFC). This is an Urban/Suburban street tree planting and maintenance program designed to provide grants up to $1,500 through the Forestry Boards to communities, schools, and organizations for the planting and maintaining of street trees in the urban setting. Grants are provided to MUCFC through the USDA Forest Service.  Grant applications can be found at : Chair: Wayne Lucas, 

PLANT Award— People Loving And Nurturing Trees. This program complements the MUCFC program and awards communities across Maryland for tree-related activities such as plantings, beautification projects, maintenance and care, education, creation of tree inventory or horticulturist or arborists collaboration for community improvement. The awards are given on four levels-bronze, silver, gold and green-as determined by involvement in organizing, planning, care and citizen action. We encourage all communities to become part of this awards program and to work each year, to increase their efforts and grow to the next award level.

Legislation. In these changing times the Forestry Boards have increased their activity in the legislative process. We took a highly visible role in the development and passing of the award winning Sustainable Forestry Act of 2009, supporting and testifying in support of No Net Loss and several other legislative issues and plan to continue to be very active. Chair: Gary Allen,

Return of the Chestnuts. We are coordinating with the American Chestnut Society in planting American Chestnuts and soon Hybrids in locations around the state. The nuts are supplied by the Society and are grown out at the State Nursery and distributed by the committee to participating boards. The seedlings are planted in groves of 50 and data collected on a yearly basis as to survival rate, health, and height are sent to the society. This year 900 seedlings were planted and this will continue each succeeding year.
Chair: Glenn Ferenschek

Bio-Mass. The use of forest products as a renewable resource and the challenges of the environment it is essential that we increase our promotion of Bio-Mass. We are working with the Baltimore Zoo and State Agencies on feasibility studies for possible installations for the burning of wood chips and advocating the use of wood pellets in the home and industry. For more information, contact Gary Allen at

Maryland Forestry Foundation. The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a member of and responsible to the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards but by its nature must act independently. The Foundation’s mission is to act as the fiduciary agent and fund-raising manager for specific projects of the Association or the Forestry Boards. Foundation Board President: Gary Allen at

Contact Information

Maryland Forestry Foundation
124 South Street #3
Annapolis, MD 21401