Georgia Tree Farmer Receives Annual Sustainable Forestry Honor Sponsored by STIHL
WASHINGTON—The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation, has named John William Bembry of Georgia the 2013 Southern Region Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year, an annual sustainable forestry honor sponsored by STIHL, Inc.
Every year, ATFS inspecting foresters and state committees nominate certified Tree Farmers whose conservation efforts, outreach efforts to their community, and advocacy for sustainable forest management exceed expectations.
Bembry’s Mill Tree Farm was first certified in 1985. The original piece of land was first purchased by Bembry’s ancestor in 1807.
“I feel a real sense of responsibility for this farm. I love this land,” Bembry wrote in his nomination form. “I grew up hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and boating on this property…and it gradually became obvious to me that my concern for the stewardship of this land should not stop at the property boundary.”
Species on the property include longleaf, loblolly, slash pine, and pockets of spruce, and cypress trees, as well as gopher tortoise, black beer, deer, turkey, quail, red-cockaded woodpeckers, bald eagles, bluebirds, wood ducks, and more.
Bembry and his fellow regional awardees were chosen after Tree Farm site visits by Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year inspecting forester judges. The National Tree Farmer of the Year, announced at July’s National Tree Farmer Convention in Minneapolis, is chosen from among these regional honorees, who will all attend this year’s convention and participate in a panel discussion about their sustainable forestry work.
“Dr. Bembry and his wife, Latrelle, have one of the most beautiful Tree Farm I have ever seen, and the passion that they have for their land is more than evident,” said Chuck Leavell, 1999 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year and keyboardist for the Rolling Stones.
The Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards are generously sponsored by STIHL, Inc., manufacturer of the number one selling brand of handheld outdoor power equipment in America. STIHL is proud to support the accomplishments of hard-working Tree Farmers from across the country. The four regional awardees will each receive a $500 Gift Certificate from STIHL and travel assistance to the National Tree Farmer Convention.
The other regional awardees are Jo Arington of Wisconsin, Bill and Joan Arsenault of Oregon, and Allen R. Yale, Jr. of Vermont.
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The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 82,000 family forest owners sustainably managing 24 million acres of forestland. It is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation. Learn more at www.treefarmsystem.org/awards-recognition.