map of georgia
southeastern society
black line
black line
black line
black line
oconee chapter

2017 Chapter Officers

Chair: Erika Mavity ()
Chair-elect: Nelson Gonzalez-Sullow ()
Secretary/Treasurer: John Colberg (), CF

2013 Chapter Officers

Chair: Patrick Hopton ()
Program Chair: vacant
Past Chair (2012): Patrick Hopton ()
Secretary/Treasurer: Rchard D. Righmyer (), CF

2010 Review

2010 Chapter Officers

Chair: Robert Izlar ()
Program Chair: Patrick Hopton ()
Past Chair (2009): Morgan Mellette ()
Secretary/Treasurer: Rchard D. Righmyer (), CF

2010 Meeings

Meeting Date Topic and Presenter
(1 hr. CFE each meeting)
Locale Planned Meal Meeting Facility
Thursday, January 14 "Update on forestry and natural resources in the U.S. Congress" - Ms. Tate Izlar, NE Georgia field rep for U.S Senator Johnny Isakson Gainsville Johnny's BBQ U.S. Forest Service Office, 1755 Cleveland Highway, Gainesville
Thursday, March 18 "Loving Trees is Not Enough" - strategic communications for foresters - Dr. Brooks Mendell, Forisk Consulting Athens Meal by UGA SAF Student Chapter UGA Whitehall Forest Flinchums Phoenix, Whitehall Road, Athens
Thursday, May 13 "Forest Management Programs of Georgia Forestry Commission" - Ms. Jody Strickland, GFC Forest Management Chief Helen Low Country Boil prepared by Larry Luckett Smithgall Woods Conservation Area outdoor picnic pavillion, Joe Strickland Road, GA Highway 17/75, Helen
Thursday, July 15 "Quality Deer Management in Georgia Forests" - Brian Murphy, QDMA, Bogart Hiwassee Brenda Swanson, Caterer from Hiwassee Frank Riley's Blue Hole Farm, Hiwassee River, GA 75 south of Hiwassee
Thursday, September 9 "Forests and Recreation Opportunities", Dr. Gary Green, UGA/US Forest Service, Athens Athens Meal by UGA SAF Student Chapter UGA Whitehall Forest Flinchums Phoenix, Whitehall Road, Athens
Thursday, November 18 "How changes in genetics is enabling silvicultural adjustments" - Dr. Phil Dougherty, ArborGen LLC Proposed: Cornelia-Commerce area TBD Proposed: location in the Cornelia/Commerce area

2009 Review

2009 Chapter Officers

Chair: Morgan Mellette ()
Chair-elect: Frank Riley ()
Secretary/Treasurer: Rchard D. Righmyer (), CF

2009 News

Local member dues ($15.00 annually) are due for 2009 for those Chapter members who are not members of the National SAF. These can be paid at the Chapter meetings or send by mail to Dick Rightmyer, 405 Christopher Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501.

2009 Meeting Dates

Date: Thursday, January 22, meal at 6:00pm; program at 7:00pm
Location: U.S. Forest Service Office, 1755 Cleveland Highway, Gainesville, GA
Speaker and Topic: Professional Ethics in Forestry. Presenter, Bob Izlar, UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
Notes: Johnny's BBQ. $10/person for chopped pork BBQ, buns,brunswick stew, cole slaw, baked beans, tea, water and dessert
CFE Credit: 1 hour Category I CFE credit will be available for this meeting.

Date: March 26
Location: UGA
Speaker and Topic: Dr. Michael Kane, Plantation management Research Cooperative

Date: May 21
Location: The meeting will be at Smithgall Woods Conservation Center, Helen, GA. Fishing Pavilion off GA Highway 75, about 3 miles from Cleveland
Meal: Low Country Boil prepared by Larry Luckett, meal time about 6:15pm; program at 7:00pm
Speaker and Topic: Mike Zupko, National SAF Policy Chair

Date: July 16
Location: Frank Riley's property in Hiawassee, GA
Speaker and Topic: Scott Griffin (Georgia Forestry Commission), forest health
Meal: fish fry, approximately $6
Notes: Fly-fishing starts at 2pm, with meal at 6pm

Date: September 17
Location: Landmark Systems
Speaker and Topic: Darian Yawn, GPS/GIS

Date: November 19
Location: TBD
Speaker and Topic: TBD

2008 Review

2008 Chapter Officers

Chair: Frank Riley ()
Chair-elect: Morgan Melette ()
Past Chair: Richard D. Rightmyer (), CF
Secretary/Treasurer: Richard D. Rightmyer (), CF

2008 Meeting Dates

Date: January 24
Location: U.S. Forest Service office in Gainesville, GA
Speaker and Topic: Morgan Mellette - Conservation Easements
Notes: Johnny's BBQ

Date: March 20
Location: Flinchum's Phoenix at UGA Whitehall Forest, Athens, GA
Speaker and Topic: Tim Lowrimore (GFA) - GA Legislature and Forest Policy Update
Notes: Catered with UGA Student Chapter

Date: July 17
Location: Blue Hole fishing spot in Hiwassee, GA
Speaker and Topic: Kent Kammermeyer (retired DNR)
Notes: Catered meal

Date: Mid-August
Location: Smithgall Woods - DNR facility in Helen, GA
Speaker and Topic: Nathan McClure (GFC) - tentative program
Notes: Low country boil

Date: September 18
Location: U.S. Forest Service office in Gainesville, GA
Speaker and Topic: Kate Robie - Forest Investments and land management

Date: November 20
Location: Athens, GA. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources building on campus. Park in Lot S-7 (parking information)
Speaker and Topic: Dr. Dale Greene, Professor of Forest Engineering. "The Future of Forestry and Renewable Energy"
Notes: Hosted by UGA SAF Student Chapter. 6:15pm - meal ($8.00/person), 7:15pm - program.
RSVP: If you plan to take part in the meal for this meeting, please send an email to Richard D. Rightmyer (), or phone message 770.297.3070 by 4:00pm Tuesday, November 18.

2007 Review

2007 Chapter Officers

Chair: vacant
Secretary/Treasurer: Richard D. Rightmyer (), CF.

2007 Meeting Dates

Date: March
Location: U.S. Forest Service office in Gainesville, GA
Speaker and Topic: Dennis Martin, Water Quality Coordinator - Georgia Forestry Commission, presented information on the latest updates to Georgia's Best Management Practices for Forestry manual
Notes: Twenty-five chapter members and several guests enjoyed BBQ and getting up to date with one another for the first meeting of 2007. Dennis provided a slide presentation overview of changes in classification for headwater streams or ephemeral areas. The new direction is in effect for silvicultural operations.

Date: April 26
Location: Colbert, GA
Speaker and Topic: Tour of Weyerhaeuser Laminated Products Plant in Colbert, GA, GA Hiway 72; about 10 miles east of Athens. Tour begins 4:00pm, finish about 6:00pm. Limited to 25 participants - hardhat, safety glasses, closed toe shoes required. Meal and short business meeting will follow the tour -- off-site.

Date: May 24
Location: Oakwood, GA, exit 16, I-985
Speaker and Topic: Remote Sensing and GIS at Gainesville State College's Institute of Environmental and Spatial Analysis
Notes: 6:00pm low-country boil (outdoors) at campus pavilion before business meeting and program; program follows 7:00pm at Science Building.

Date: July 19
Location: Riley Farm, Hiwassee River, Hiwassee, GA
Speaker and Topic: Trout management in North Georgia with DNR Wildlife Resources specialist Jeff Durniak
Notes: cookout at meeting

Date: September 20
Location: Presentation from Timber-Mart South staff
Speaker and Topic: Athens, GA - UGA Flinchum's Phoenix
Notes: Meal at meeting. Joint meeting with UGA Student Chapter

All meetings qualify for CFE credit and are open to all SAF members and guests. For information contact Dick Rightmyer () in Gainesville (770.297.3070).

2006 Review

Five Chapter meetings were hosted by the Oconee Chapter of the Georgia Division Society of American Foresters in 2006. The Chapter's membership territory draws from several counties in northeast Georgia and currently has close to 100 members. A side benefit of the Chapter's location is the presence of the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources in Athens, adding a variety of potential speakers from faculty and staff, and the UGA Student Chapter of SAF. Meetings of the Chapter are held in several locations to reach as many members as possible.

Topics for meeting programs in 2006 covered several current issues and challenges facing Oconee Chapter members.

January: held in Gainesville at the U.S. Forest Service office - program by Nathan McClure of the Georgia Forestry Commission - information from a recent market and utilization survey of the forest products industry in Georgia, along with highlights of several emerging product opportunities.

March: met at Flinchum's Phoenix at UGA for a meal hosted by the UGA Student Chapter. Forty-five attendees learned about the many opportunities for forestry continuing education from Dr. Ben Jackson, Coordinator for Forestry Continuing Education at UGA's Georgia Center.

May: Chapter toured the Thompson Mills Arboretum led by Bill Lott of the UGA Staff. Meal was a low country shrimp boil prepared by Larry Luckett followed by training in Professional Ethics for Foresters presented by Bob Izlar, a Chapter member and Director of the Center for Forest Business at UGA.

July: a continuing tradition of the Oconee Chapter is to gather at a favorite fishing hole on the Hiwassee River in July, survey the local trout population and enjoy a meal and program outdoors. Dr. David Moorhead, UGA professor of silviculture, provided an update on the challenges of invasive plants and forestry in Georgia.

September: The last meeting of 2006 was hosted by Dr. Richard Porterfield, Dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, in the original building of the forestry school. The meal was hosted by the SAF Student Chapter as a fund raiser to support their programs. Dr. Porterfield introduced four new faculty members at Warnell giving each an opportunity to briefly discuss their research or instruction programs. Dr. John Maerz introduced his work with "herps" and Dr. Craig Miller shared insight into the growing influence of urban population on natural resources. Dr. Rebecca Moore discussed Georgia's current water policy and laws as they influence forest management and Dr. Michael Yabsley presented information on wildlife diseases.

Each of the programs presented by the Oconee Chapter is submitted to Dr. Ben Jackson for Continuing Forestry Education credit giving members a bonus of participating and attending meetings. Each meeting earns a minimum of one hour of CFE credit.

2005 Review

Governor Helps Dedicate Forestry Exhibit at I-85 Welcome Center

Reprinted with permission from The Toccoa Record

gary white and walter foxVisitors coming to Georgia can now see a three-dimensional tribute to Georgia's forestry industry, thank to the Oconee Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and Governor Roy Barnes.

Governor Barnes, his wife Marie, and former Governor Ernest Vandiver were among those who gathered Saturday at the Georgia-South Carolina Welcome Center near Lavonia to dedicate the exhibit.

The display, which is encased in Plexiglas, depicts landmarks and features from throughout the Piedmont area, from Madison to Dahlonega. It was built by Louie F. Deaton, Georgia's first Urban Forester. Oconee Chapter members Gary White is on the left, Walter Fox is on the right.

Deaton has been making such displays for 20 out of his 30 years with the Georgia Forestry Commission. His work can be seen in Forestry Commission offices from the Okefenokee Swamp to Dawsonville. In all, he has 20 such displays to his credit.

gov. barnesGovernor Barnes, right, noted that Atlanta was now the nation's 11th largest metropolitan area, and has eclipsed Miami in terms of size.

In asking newcomers what brought them to the area, Barnes said that invariably mentioned Georgia's trees.

Barnes said such comments were on his mind when he began his "Greenspace" initiative statewide. The initiative is designed to preserve Georgia's lush arbored areas. Currently he said, 66 percent of Georgia's land is covered by forest. "If trees have played such a large role in giving us our quality of life...why in the world would you cut them down?"

Barnes said the exhibit was also a fitting tribute to the state's foresters. "Our Forestry Commission is second to none, not only in the Southeast, but nationally," the Governor said.

walter foxThe project was spearheaded by Walter Fox, left, a retired forester and member of the Oconee Chapter of American Foresters. Fox, who lives on Lake Hartwell near the Stephens-Franklin County line, began working on the project after the rest area was built in conjunction with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Fox thanked Rep. Jeanette Jamieson, D-Toccoa, for her help in procuring the grant from the Governor's Office. Rep. Eddie Madden, D-Elberton, was also on hand for the dedication. The rest area also includes a display showcasing the many products made from trees.

"In light of the importance of trees to our economy, and to our way of life, we felt we needed an exhibit right when you come into the state," Fox said. "Hopefully, these exhibits will promote a better appreciation of our forest land, both recreationally and as a renewable economic resource."