This year, the Troy Fair was honored to have the Pennsylvania WoodMobile set up for visitors to go through. Its purpose is to educate about the importance of the forest products industry and forest management.
According to Wayne Bender, executive director of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, recent studies show an economic impact of forest products of the industry to be 22.6 billion dollars.
In March 2000, Bender was hired to educate the public through the WoodMobile. He has done many school programs, with an emphasis on fourth through sixth grades to let students know that using wood is good and harvesting trees is not a bad thing.
“They’ve been taught to save the trees because they make oxygen, as early as kindergarten,” said Bender, who explained that wood is the greenest building material for the environment and leaves the smallest carbon footprint. “Good forest management will allow the trees to regenerate themselves.”
The Pennsylvania WoodMobile that was at this year’s Troy Fair is the second WoodMobile. The first WoodMobile was at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg in 2002. The new one, that was at this year’s Troy Fair was at the Farm Show in 2015. Both WoodMobiles combined have had over 180,000 students and teachers, and 1.8 million general visitors through them.
The inside of the WoodMobile is a showcase of Pennsylvania hardwoods. The trailer is totally wood on the inside. The floor is made of white oak and walnut. Most of the cabinetry is cherry.
About 40 different companies throughout the state funded the WoodMobile. Deer Park Lumber in Tunkhannock provided the trailer. Cummings Lumber, Barefoot Flooring and Wheeland Lumber were the major donors.
There are several impressive items on display in the WoodMobile, along with a case full of different products. Visitors can guess which two products do not contain wood or any wood byproducts. Derek Norman, also an employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, was helping visitors, explaining the correct answers.
The trailer also provided visitors with much information about trees and some of the invasive insects that have become problems.
One impressive display is the Pennsylvania WoodMobile Guitar made by Martin Guitar in Nazareth, Pennsylvania from four different types of Pennsylvania trees downed during Hurricane Sandy.
Another thing on display is a bicycle made of wood.
“The guitar was fascinating,” said Kris Kistler. “And the bicycle.”
Kistler, a resident of Bradford County, had seen the WoodMobile before, and when she found out it was going to be at this year’s Troy Fair, she made a point to visit it again. This time she picked up some information about invasive insect species, since she is concerned about the trees in our area.
Tom Harrington and his wife Sylvia, visiting from Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, thought the WoodMobile was very informative, since they already have the Spotted Lantern Fly at home.
“It’s good for people to know about the Spotted Lantern Fly,” said Tom Harrington. “People would be impressed at how many there are and how fast they reproduce. It becomes a real shocker to see a tree covered with them.”
Sylvia Harrington was so impressed with the WoodMobile displays that she said, “This is the best thing so far we’ve seen at the fair!”