The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) has named Bryon and Donna Loucks of Centralia, Washington, as Western Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year. STIHL is the presenting sponsor of the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards, which annually recognizes outstanding sustainable forest management on privately owned woodlands.
The award of a $500 gift certificate from STIHL was presented on June 15 at the annual ATFS Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Loucks manage the Douglas fir trees on their 210-acre B&D Tree Farms with all the care and attention doting parents would lavish on growing children. Soon after they decided to regenerate their land with Douglas fir trees, they planted 9,000 fir seedlings. To keep deer from damaging the trees, they covered each tree with netting—a process they repeated over and over again as the trees grew. It was a labor-intensive project they describe as “not for the faint of heart,” but one that has yielded a thriving plantation of mature Douglas fir trees that will provide the couple with a healthy retirement income.
The Loucks’ passion for B&D Tree Farms springs from a love of the outdoors that took root during childhood (Byron’s was spent living on the edge of Olympic National Park). The two met in the early 1970s while Bryon was working as a forester, and Donna as a forestry librarian at the Weyerhaeuser Forestry Research Center.
“Owning and managing forestland has been one of the greatest joys of my life. It is an honor to serve my community, my county, and my state through the value of sustainable forestry,” Bryon said.
“Family forest owners like the Loucks exemplify how the American Tree Farm System grows stewardship from the roots,” says Bettina Ring, Senior Vice President for Family Forests at the American Forest Foundation. “Bryon and Donna Loucks’ passion, hard work, and commitment to the land are truly inspiring. Future generations will benefit from their stewardship and their exemplary forest management practices.”
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The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation, is a network of private woodland owners sustainably managing 26 million acres of forestland. It is the largest and oldest sustainable family woodland system in America, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. For more than 70 years, ATFS has enhanced the quality of America’s woodlands by giving forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive.
STIHL Inc. is the exclusive presenting sponsor of the ATFS Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year Regional and National Awards, and the Regional and National Inspector of the Year Awards. STIHL, Inc, is also the sole, handheld outdoor power equipment provider for the ATFS. STIHL Inc. manufactures the world’s largest selling brand of chain saws and produces a full line of powerful, lightweight, and versatile handheld outdoor power equipment for homeowners and professional users. STIHL products are sold through servicing power equipment retailers from coast to coast— not mass merchants. STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL dealers are for distribution in the United States only. For more information or for the name of the closest STIHL retailer call toll free 1-800-GO STIHL (1-800-467-8445) or visit the STIHL Web site at www.stihlusa.com.