We were fortunate and thankful to hold an in-person commencement for our students and families in Lane Stadium on a cool, early Sunday morning in May. It was enjoyable to have a small dose of normalcy following 14 months of the pandemic. Congratulations to our graduates on the momentous occasion! Thank you for choosing Virginia Tech and the college to pursue your studies. Go forth and do good! Please keep in touch and let us know if we can help you in any way as you launch your career.

I want to recognize and thank our federal partner agencies and scientists working alongside us in the college, as highlighted in this feature story. We are fortunate to have scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Geological Survey. The longstanding Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit has generated benefits for decades and magnified the work we do in partnership. All of these partnerships are forged on trust and impact, and I want our partners to know how much we value your engagement with us throughout the college. You make a significant difference in your work with us. Thank you.

Our cover story highlights another partnership and its product: the longstanding housing report that has been published as a collaborative effort with the Forest Service for more than a decade. The monthly report, read by thousands, is a reminder that forestry — and wood and fiber — remain critical to our nation’s infrastructure. We need effective management of our forest resources, strong markets for forest landowners, and research, education, and outreach on renewable materials and the development of new and improved products and processes to remain globally competitive. We also need to develop the human resources that fuel these sectors. Our college was founded on a desire to prepare students for careers involving forestry and forest products, and we remain committed to all things forestry today. The housing report brings the supply chain together and combines it with Federal Reserve monetary policy, economic indicators, and a host of other considerations that have direct ramifications back to forest landowners.

I also want to share news about an exciting new initiative that is underway in relation to urban natural resources. By the time you read this, the college will have held a significant event and engaged nearly 100 external stakeholders in exploring the contributions we can make to our ever-expanding urban environments. More people are now migrating to urban areas than at any other time in world history, meaning that urban natural resources are of growing importance. We are well along in planning for new courses and a significant emphasis on curricular programming addressing urban natural resources. Stay tuned — this is an exciting initiative.

We are hoping for a full return to in-person instruction and work environments as we start the fall semester. I hope you are on a path to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students, and thank you for your continued interest in and support of the college.

Paul Winistorfer

Paul M. Winistorfer