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The Woods in Your Backyard online course: Spring 2017

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Online ticket sales have closed for this fall's enrollment. Please contact Andrew Kling at if you have any questions. Thank you.

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Sales Have Ended

Ticket sales have ended
Online ticket sales have closed for this fall's enrollment. Please contact Andrew Kling at if you have any questions. Thank you.
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Logo for UME Woodland Stewardship Education programWhile we considered ourselves relatively intelligent and responsible stewards for our 4.25 acre wooded property ... we always felt overwhelmed with the incredible amount of effort that would be required to get our land back to what it should be ... and, just as important, keep it there. The information and activities in the Woods in Your Backyard course really helped us set realistic goals, timelines, and priorities and gave us the confidence to start. ... This course has been a tremendous asset in getting us on course to be better stewards of our property.

I would highly recommend the course for people interested in doing a better job of maintaining their land.

-Sara Y., Maryland

The University of Maryland Extension's "The Woods in Your Backyard" online course promotes the stewardship of small parcels of land for the personal enjoyment of the owners and improved environmental quality for society. If you have 1–10 acres of land in the Eastern United States that is forested or has unmowed natural areas, this course is for you. It is also for you if you have a mowed lawn area that you want to turn into a woodland.

One of the most effective ways you can improve water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and natural area health is by shifting areas of lawn into unmowed natural areas or woodlands. Over a period of years, this will reduce the time you spend mowing your lawn and give you more time to enjoy your family, property, and hobbies. Our twelve-week, non-credit, self-paced course will teach you how to do this.

Here's an overview of what our non-credit course covers:
• Learn why you should manage your land.
• Map your land and assess why you bought the land and what you hope to get out of it.
• Understand how your land relates to the land around you.
• Identify habitat units on your property.
• Learn basics of tree identification, forestry, and wildlife habitat management.
• Assess your property’s water resources, recreational possibilities, and aesthetic appeal, and ways to improve each.
• Choose a few land management projects to help meet your goals.
• Set a timetable and record progress.

There are no pre-requisites for this non-credit course. The course includes readings assembled into five thematically-related modules; quizzes that assess understanding of the topics presented; and activities that help you understand your property's special characteristics and potential. Additional materials include case studies of families who own woodland properties, a resource guide, and a glossary. Short videos introduce you to fellow woodland owners and illustrate key topics and techniques. Downloadable documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). All course materials are accessible in your Internet browser through Instructure's Canvas content learning management system.

We invite you to take a tour of our course preview. Visit for an overview of the course and samples of the readings, quizzes and activities.

With a paid enrollment, each student receives a print copy of The Woods in Your Backyard (2nd edition, published 2015), The Woods in Your Backyard Workbook, and Common Native Trees of Virginia Tree Identification Guide.

To register online, click on "Tickets" and follow the instructions. To register by mail, send a check for $85.00 to:

WIYB Online
Attn: Pam Thomas
University of Maryland Extension
18330 Keedysville Road
Keedysville MD 21756

The University of Maryland Extension programs are open to any person and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression.

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