Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates

July 27, 2023 | Issue-19


 Unfortunately the title reflects the recent weeks of above normal temperatures rather than a super-hot business environment! Even though some improved marketing practices might "heat-up" the amount of business for your company, we cannot do too much about the weather except working smartly each and every day until we once again have some more reasonable summertime temperatures.

One step to minimize exposure to the heat and humidity is to start and end the day a little earlier. Doing so helps to avoid that oppressive, late afternoon combination of heat and humidity that can take a toll on both your workers and productivity. Trust me, the vast majority of your clients will totally understand these summertime adjustments of hours, all they care about is getting the job completed. This also provides you with a great outreach opportunity - notifying them of a change of hours for the health and safety of your workforce. Showing empathy and caring about your employees goes a long way to retaining your customers and can lead to new clients for your business. Your summertime hours adjustment messaging can also mention the addition of new services or products and dates for any future outreach events featuring the company.

Even with an adjustment of working hours it is still going to be hot! Work in the shade when practical to do so. If needed, create your own shade my adding an umbrella or canopy to your work station. Reducing direct exposure to the sun goes a long way towards avoiding nasty things like heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and exposure of your skin to harmful solar radiation. Proper gear such as long sleeves, hats with brims, sunglasses and sunscreen can make the summertime work environment more tolerable and definitely safer for all the workers.

If the morning forecast predicts ridiculously high heat indices and outdoor heat warnings, then consider an inside shop work day if the facility is airconditioned or has plenty of large fans for air movement. Remember that high temperatures, humidity and direct sunlight are not the only factors that contribute to heat stress - so does limited air movement.

Besides....when was the last time the shop had a good cleaning, painting and organizing?

A combination of water and sports drinks are essential to maintaining good body health during the summertime heat. It is easy to become dehydrated and at the very least suffer debilitating muscle cramps when doing physical work on these hot days. Always remember that drinking only large quantities of water can also be very bad for your body by causing salt deficiencies in the blood, a condition known as hyponatremia. Even the U.S. Marine Corps endorses the combined use of these two hydration fluids for their recruits at Paris Island.

 Fall is on the way, but realistically we still have at least another 4-6 weeks of steamy days that lie in front of us. Be careful in the heat, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Wishing everyone a good end to the summer season and welcome to the nineteenth edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter!

Joe Lehnen

VA Dept of Forestry

Urban Wood Program Coordinator

Upcoming Events


Forest Products Equipment


Machinery Exposition

August 23-25, 2023

Nashville, TN

Sponsored by:

Southern Forest Products Association

EXPO 2023 will be held at the Music City Convention Center in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Located in the middle of all the action, the Music City Center is a perfect home base for a fun-filled visit to Nashville! Inside, the new, state-of-the-art convention center you'll experience a modern business atmosphere, and outside you'll find a thriving culinary, music, sports and cultural scene!

Click here for more

details & registration

Coming in 2024:

The East Coast Logging &

Equipment Expo!

April 12-13, 2024

New Location:

Meadow Event Park

Doswell, VA

More details in future VA Urban Wood Newsletter issues!

Recently Updated!

VA Urban & Small Woodlot

Forestry Business Directory

We are pleased to announce a brand new edition of the service providers directory! This newest version offers an improved search tool for users to find your business, an easier portal for new businesses wishing to list in the directory and more attractive graphics which enhances the user experience.

The service providers directory includes a wide variety of businesses including portable sawmillers, crafters, forestry mulchers, small parcel timber harvesters & resource managers, furniture builders and many more.

Know of a company that should be a part of this ever-growing family? Sign-up is easy and takes only a few minutes of time >>

Directory Link >> 

Additional Information


News from:

The North Carolina

Urban Wood Group

NC Urban Wood Group

The North Carolina Urban Wood newsletter is available via the website

"Hobbit Doors" built by JMU Industrial Design students for Keister Elementary School nature trail - Harrisonburg, VA

Virginia Urban Wood Group News

Richmond Urban Wood Group

Some exciting news from the capital city - a Richmond Urban Wood Group is in the process of forming!

Keenan Rowe (formerly a wood materials design professor at VCU & JMU) has begun organizing a Richmond Urban Wood Group. The group has already held three organizational meetings and there has been good interest from local wood artisans, City of Richmond Park staff, and representatives from arboriculture and tree care companies. The initial overall goals of the group include:

  • Collaboration
  • Identifying the needs of urban wood users
  • Identifying markets
  • Creating a clear mission/vision for the group

Contact Keenan for more information about the group and future meetings/activities:

Worth the Click!



 Okay so not really a "click" but more like a download!

If you own a tree care or a small land management company, check-out Chip Drop - this is an online service that connects gardeners and landscapers to that truckload of wood chips that you just created after a hard day's work. Many people actually prefer wood chips to traditional ground bark mulch and they are looking for available sources.

This downloadable phone app connects the chip maker to the chip consumer. It's easy to use and very reliable. Check it out at following link:


The Virginia Urban Wood Group is an affiliate member of the Urban Wood Network.

Connect with the Urban Wood Network on Facebook or Instagram: @urbanwoodnetwork

Have something to share? Use #UWN #urbanwood #urbanwoodnetwork #urbanwoodmovement to connect with us and to share your posts with us. 

Additional info >>

Urban Wood Network

UWN's latest newsletter >>

UWN News

Feature Stories

Outdoor Classrooms

Back in the day, the highlight of any school day was going outside! Being able to escape the four walls of academia and math class was a time of pure pleasure, a way to expend pent-up boyhood energy after sitting still for hours and trying to pay attention to the teacher! For me growing up in a city, it was 20-30 minutes of outdoor recess, but how awesome would it have been if we could have exited the building even more than once a day, adjourning to an outdoor classroom! Thinking back about my school and surrounding property, we had the room to make it happen, but alas it was not the educational model of the time.

Since my youth we have learned volumes about how children learn and their need for being outdoors during the school day! Studies have found that children who spent more time in nature exploration had improved learning outcomes. Also, when kids are allowed time outdoors there are more positive classroom behaviors, they were less impulsive, resulting in less anger and aggression towards both fellow students and school staff.

Outdoor classrooms have several benefits for young learners:

  • Provide a perfect setting for all subjects
  • Reduced symptoms of ADHD
  • Better test scores
  • Higher grade point averages

Following are photos and brief summaries of two outdoor classrooms that have been installed in Virginia over the past couple of months. Locally-sourced, urban wood was used in the construction of both of these projects. The urban wood businesses that were involved were thrilled to help provide these students with outside learning opportunities.

The Virginia Department of Forestry provides funding for outdoor classroom design/build to schools, communities, and non-profit organizations. Additional information is available via email from the Urban & Community Forestry team >

Keister Elementary

"Stump School"

New outdoor learning area at

Freedom Park, Williamsburg

Project: Keister Elementary School

Design/Build: JMU Industrial Design Class

Location: Harrisonburg, VA

For their 2023 Spring Semester capstone project, Dr. Audrey Barnes’ Industrial Design class rehabilitated a nature trail and installed outdoor classroom infrastructure at Keister Elementary School. Following initial meetings with students, parents, teachers and staff from the City of Harrisonburg, the JMU students designed and then constructed this outdoor space.

More than 90% of the wood used during the construction was urban wood that came from the neighborhoods surrounding the school. The City of Harrisonburg's Urban Wood Program assisted with securing the materials for this project. Jeremy Harold (Harrisonburg Urban Wood Program Coord) and Joe Lehnen (VDOF Urban Wood Program Coord) served as mentors and technical advisors for these projects.

A short news report on the project can be found here:

Keister Trail-Classroom



Project: Freedom Park Outdoor


Design/Build: James City County

Parks Department

Location: Williamsburg, VA  

Freedom Park has a rich historical background dating back to the 1650s. This park is the site of an 18th Century cemetery, the Revolutionary War Battle of Spencer’s Ordinary (1781) and a 17th Century domicile which is revealing much archaeological research of the early colonial period (1680-1730). Freedom Park was also home to one of the nation's earliest Free Black Settlements in America from 1803-1850. Three historically accurate recreated cabins are located in the park, and are furnished with items authentic to the period.

With a number of programs occurring at the Free Black Settlement area, a need was identified for an outdoor classroom facility. White oak logs were salvaged from storm damaged trees, milled into benches and supports, creating an amazing outdoor learning area!

It features 10 benches that will seat approximately 40 people and a kiosk containing a white board. The facility was designed by park staff and constructed by the park's employees and volunteers.

More information about Freedom Park, reserving the outdoor classroom and their many other facilities can be found by visiting >>

Freedom Park

Williamsburg, VA



Many thanks to Trees Virginia (Virginia's Urban Forest Council) for hosting this newsletter and allowing access to their Constant Contact platform!

Check out their brand new

website >>>


The Virginia Urban Wood Program is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry with grants from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region.

The Marketing Corner

It's Camera Time!

 Recently on the Instagram feed was a video "commercial" for a local wood business in Pennsylvania. The person featured in the video was great - perfect focus on the camera, a great message that was not too long, awesome footage of the product, and most importantly, I sensed they were talking directly to me. I felt an instant connection with the product and the company due to two things: the person delivering the message and the message itself.

I think all of us will admit that some people have the ability to do well with "camera time" and then there are others that are truly challenged when trying to effectively deliver a message. Some of us are camera-comfortable, while other people would rather "run like the wind" whenever someone wants to take a video of what they are doing. In-between these two extremes are folks that do not mind being videotaped while doing something, just don't ask them to speak on cam.

The goal is to select the "right person" for camera time. You definitely do not want to force someone to do a video when they are totally uncomfortable being placed in that situation. More challenging is the business owner, or their family member, who thinks they are good at delivering a message when actually their presentation skills are difficult to watch - that is a hard situation to try to solve!

Your business promotional video needs to have a quality, but also brief, to-the-point message supported by good footage of what you are trying to sell, be that a product or a service.

So how important is all of this? It is very important! The commercial that you present for your company can either instantly draw customers to your products or leave them in a ho-hum state of being. As we have said time and time again, people in today's world are an impatient lot, and if your commercial is lacking in messaging or presentation, you may fall into the "one and done" recycling bin of videos that just never resonated with the audience. The bottom line is to develop a succinct, meaningful message with good imagery, selecting the right person to deliver that message for your company.

Virginia Urban Wood Group

Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest