Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates

January 30, 2024 | Issue-21

Opportunity for All

 As we launch into 2024, the word of the year might be "opportunity". Opportunity seems to abound at most every place I visit, and with most everyone I meet. Their is great optimism for a positive future for both their business and themselves.

Over the past few years all organizations, both private and public sector have had challenges with employee retention. In some instances these retention issues are lumped into the "nobody wants to work anymore" category. While there may be a few people opting out of the workforce, the vast majority of those that leave a position are doing so for a role that will help them grow professionally, increase their salary, or provide them new challenges. The goals for every employer is to try and create a work environment that employees find personally and professionally enriching, where they are treated with respect, hopefully including advancement possibilities.

As employers we also need to remember that very few private or public sector entities provide the guaranteed security for legacy employees that the Baby Boomers enjoyed. There will probably be hardly any 20, 30 and 40 year employees in the future because of changed compensation packages and the opportunities offered by other companies in our ever-advancing business world. This results in a lot of movement in the workforce where changing jobs is almost as common as the sun rising.

Opportunity - I see it in the eyes of the younger generation each time we are conducting an urban wood outreach program. They are eager to learn new things that involve hands-on activities. They want to touch, smell and work with wood. They want to make things that reflect their creativity and talents. They are overjoyed to think that there is a ever-growing customer base actually willing to pay them for their artisanal talents. They embrace the idea of wood products storing carbon and doing their part to reduce the effects of climate change. They want to contribute to growing the local economy.

All organizations and businesses should strive to present opportunities for their employees and also for younger folks who hopefully will be our future workforce, be it through outreach events or paid internships. An additional goal for 2024 is to look beyond your current business model for expanding the services and products you provide. This is an opportunity for people to learn and support your company, and for you to reap the benefits of an ever-expanding customer base. Happy 2024 and welcome to the twenty-first edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter!

Joe Lehnen

VA Dept of Forestry

Urban Wood Program Coordinator

Upcoming Events


Urban Wood Network's

2024 Outreach Program!

Webinar Series

2nd Wednesday of

each month

1:00-2:00PM eastern

Join this webinar series and learn about starting and expanding your urban wood business!

Registration Deadline


October 2nd!

Click here for more

details & registration

The East Coast Logging &

Equipment Expo!

April 12-13, 2024

New Location:

Meadow Event Park

Doswell, VA

Click here for details >

Expo Richmond 2024

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

Start following #urbanwoodwednesdays on your favorite social media account to see more posts like those above this text!

Virginia Urban Wood Group News

A Return to Baltimore

Baltimore Maryland could be considered one of the cradles of the urban wood movement on the East Coast. Beginning in 2012, the Baltimore Urban Wood Project a transdisciplinary team anchored by the USDA Forest Service, Humanim and the City of Baltimore, has been working together with other municipal, private, and nonprofit partners to create and pilot a diversified regional wood economy in Baltimore and beyond.

Recently a brand new, updated video about Baltimore's Urban Wood Program was released, detailing the successes of this long-lasting program. Congratulations go to Shaun Preston and Maurice Ashby for making Camp Smalls the epicenter of a model municipal urban wood program!

Baltimore Urban Wood Program

Worth the Click!

Woodland Health Practices Handbook:

A Practitioner’s Guide for Creating, Enhancing, and Maintaining Natural Areas


This handbook outlines small-scale natural areas management services that green industry professionals, such as arborists and landscape businesses can adopt to expand the services their business offers.

Click here for more details and ordering information >

Woodland Health Practices Handbook

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. 

Join the ever-growing Urban Wood Network - UWN Membership

Additional info >>

Urban Wood Network

Feature Stories

The Urban Wood Network

The Urban Wood Network is a national, non-profit, organization dedicated to a better use of our urban forest resources. The organization is comprised of members from across the United States and beyond. Since the early 2000’s, urban wood professionals have worked to accomplish the mission of urban wood utilization through uniting, promoting, and demonstrating its use before eventually coming together as UWN. Our ever-growing collaborative network of urban wood industry professionals – from Municipalities and Arborists to Sawmills, Suppliers, Manufacturers & Makers, Design Professionals, Consultants, and beyond – allows consistent access to collective experience and connectivity that helps the industry thrive.


We are doing more than just saving trees and wood from a waste stream, we are giving them a second life at their highest use by promoting the robust supply chain necessary to get the highest use product from these trees. Despite these great goals for the better use of trees from our municipalities, school yards, or Aunt Ethel's backyard, the motto of the Urban Wood Network - "Trees First, Wood Next" - signifies that the trees of our urban forests are the most important resource!

2023 was a banner year for the Urban Wood Network with many accomplishments - It evolved into its own independent, non-profit organization; the interim board of directors was able to accomplish all of the legal, financial and organizational framework for the new UWN; it saw an expanding membership base; and, at the end of 2023, the first board of directors was selected for the new independent UWN!

2024 should be a great year with the newly seated board bringing an abundance of energy, new ideas, creativity and ready the engage and support UWN members across the country! Be sure to check-out the new UWN Board pics below!

Our new leadership team is highlighted below (starting in the upper left-hand corner and moving right): Jennifer Flynn, Danny Torres, Jessica Sanders, Frederik Laleicke, Marisa Repka, Rick Siewert, Scott Ward, Jennifer Alger, Sims Acuff.


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

Being Supportive

 Being in business for yourself brings with it many challenges including trying to find workers, dealing with supply chain issues for replacement parts and dealing with thin profit margins! Hopefully not every day brings with it a new headache, but there have probably been many days when you are feeling mighty frustrated in dealing with the many issues of trying to run a business.

Another aspect of being a small business person is competition from other service providers. There may be times when you dive into the deep-end of thinking everyone out there is your competitor. As an older business owner once told me "new businesses come and go, and only those that are innovative, dependable, honest and provide top-notch service will thrive". He went on to say, "don't spend time and energy worrying about the competition, stay focused on your own mission of offering the very best product or service and your customer base will continue to grow".

It is also a good practice to be supportive of other businesses offering the same products and services as you. The worst thing you can do is to talk badly about a competitor - you may think this will gain you more customers but trust me it always backfires and is a total turn-off for most people. Being supportive of other businesses can include:

  • Sending them a customer when you are too busy
  • Sharing resources or technical expertise
  • Recommending them when you know they offer a product or service that you have no interest in doing
  • Supporting them on social media

This last suggestion may seem very trivial, but just "liking" a post or picture of a product shows the world that you are supportive of other small businesses and this is a direct reflection of your character and your integrity.

Recently I noticed a post online by Joshua Taylor - @joshuataylorwoodworks - a young urban wood entrepreneur from Ohio who was talking about being supportive on Instagram.

His message was simple but also powerful - that being supportive of other businesses only takes mere seconds to do and that it does not cost you anything! Check out his post below and his website:

Joshua Taylor Woodworks

Virginia Urban Wood Group

Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest