Savannah’s famous tree canopy is providing a backdrop for the nation’s largest gathering of State Foresters this week.
The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) is made up of directors of all state and territorial forestry agencies as well as the District of Columbia. This year, the Georgia Forestry Commission and State Forester Robert Farris hosted the association’s annual meeting in Savannah’s historic district.
“The NASF meeting brings together members from all over the U.S.,” said Robert Farris, State Forester and Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. “It’s an honor to be welcoming these forestry leaders to our state and to this iconic city where trees continue make a daily impact on residents and visitors alike.”
Collectively, NASF represents close to 26,000 permanent and seasonal employees and $2.8 billion in expenditures that help conserve, protect and enhance our nation’s forest resources. The meeting’s theme is “My Tree – Our Forest,” with sessions focusing on urban and community forest issues as well as forest landowner assistance programs to ensure a sustainable forest resource.
This week the Association is marking the anniversaries of important organizations including the American Tree Farm System, Project Learning Tree and the Tree City USA program.
On Monday, September 19, a commemorative tree planting ceremony was held at Savannah’s Madison Square to mark these special milestones. State Forester Farris lead forestry leaders in planting a live oak tree at the square. The Savannah Tree Foundation was recognized for its 30 year legacy of urban tree care, and Lambe presented a $5,000 check to Jenkins to fund tree plantings at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah.
“[Savannah] is the perfect location for a dynamic meeting that will advance NASF’s vision of ensuring the sustainability of trees and forests for social, economic and environmental benefits for present and future generations,” Farris said in a media advisory.
On Wednesday, September 21, the Association presented the 2016 NASF awards to recognize excellence in forestry. This year’s award winners are:
- Linda Casey: James Hubbard Lifetime Achievement Award
- Robert Bonnie: Michael Buck Outstanding Service Award for Forest Public Policy
- Steve Frye: Pete Anderson Current Achievement Award for Fire Protection
- Donald Mansius: Ken Arney Current Achievement Award for Forest Resource Management
- Alix Rogstad: Steven Scott Current Achievement Award for Urban Forestry
- Kemba Shakur and Urban Releaf: Steven Scott Current Achievement Award for Urban Forestry
- Paul Johnson: Leah MacSwords Current Achievement Award for Communications
- Jan Davis: Jeff Jahnke Current Achievement Award for Leadership
- Faith Campbell: John Shannon Current Achievement Award for Partnerships
Learn more about the 2016 NASF award recipients at https://www.stateforesters.org/2016-state-forestry-awards-recognize-excellence-forestry.
For information about services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org or check out Georgia’s Forest Action Plan at https://www.stateforesters.org/forest-action-plans/georgia.