The Forestry Club has been selling firewood locally for many years to raise funds for timber sports activities. In spring 2012, the club was asked to help supply local firewood to the new Turner Place dining facility when it opened that fall. The club readily agreed to supply one pallet of seasoned wood a week throughout the semester to fuel ovens for the facility’s Atomic Pizzeria and 1872 Fire Grill. “The Forestry Club was so fired up about being able to provide a product to our fellow students because we knew we would be a part of something bigger than just us,” remarked Mason Thomas, the club’s vice president and firewood chair.

Members cut the wood about 10 miles from campus on the Jefferson National Forest via a wood cutting agreement with the U.S. Forest Service that involves helping implement a forest management prescription in that area. Trees are processed into firewood pieces in the woods or at the Forest Harvesting Lab on campus. A few times each semester, multiple pallets are loaded and transported across campus to Turner Place by trailers, trucks, or even a tractor generously borrowed from the equestrian facilities on campus.

This collaborative effort by students who volunteer their time to harvest, process, and deliver the firewood helps club members bond and promotes a spirit of fellowship while offering the university an opportunity to showcase the use of sustainably grown and harvested wood derived from local sources.

“The resulting collaboration has afforded learning opportunities for the campus community in understanding the sourcing of the wood, and the partnership has been great for both Dining Services and the Virginia Tech Forestry Club,” said John Barrett, assistant director of Turner Place.