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georgia division events

SAF State Society Success Stories

On April 16, 2009, five members of the Pine Mountain Chapter, SAF, met at the Environmental Learning Center at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Park in south Columbus, GA. The Center is planning new public programs on the plants and animals found in the bottomlands along the Chattahoochee River at the "fall line" (where the piedmont meets the coastal plain). They plan to continue with their popular school programs. Read the entire success story here!

March 2009: Help "Defend Favorite Places" - How Hunters and Anglers Can Stop the Spread of Invasive Species

America's hunters and anglers represent essential stakeholders in combating invasive species threatening native fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Preventing and controlling invasive species is an achievable goal. Linking invasive species management principles with the hunting and angling conservation ethic is critical. Invasive species threaten the future of hunting and fishing. Sportsmen and women across the nation are joining forces to defend their favorite places.

The documentary video, Defending Favorite Places, was produced on DVD as part of the National Invasive Species Threat Campaign with support from Wildlife Forever, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Center for Invasive Plant Management, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and many public and private organizations and individuals.

In Memoriam: Charles "Chuck" Place, Jr.

Born: Brooklyn, NY 1927
AS New York State Ranger School
BS Eastern Michigan University
Forest Education Specialist, Georgia Forestry Commission
Chuck Place was an ardent promoter of forest stewardship and conservation education for over fifty years. A champion of forestry youth education, helped found in the 1950s what became the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp (now sponsored by the Georgia Division Society of American Foresters). His passion was to make the processes of forestry operations understandable to the public. A tireless promoter of forestry through the Environmental Education Institute for Teachers, the Forestry Youth Camp, Macon Cherry Blossom Festival, and SAF Ocmulgee Chapter activities.

Chuck passed away Wednesday, November 5 in Pennsylvania while visiting a friend.

Chuck was passionate about forestry as noted above in his tribute when he was named to the Georgia Foresters Hall of Fame. He participated in many education workshops dating back to the late 1950s, was an expert on naval stores, and could give you details about the Army Air Corps planes that you would never have known. He walked the Appalachian Trail twice and made friends wherever he went. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.

Georgia Voters Pass Amendment 1

On November 4, 2008, Georgia voted 'YES' overwhelmingly on Amendment 1, which guarantees Georgia's forests continue to serve our environment and our economy.

Yes (x)
No ()

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly by general law shall encourage the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state's forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government?

A full article and information on passage available here.

Please visit the official campaign website, maintained by the Georgia Forestry Association, for additional information on Amendment 1.

Robert Farris Appointed Director of Georgia Forestry Commission

On August 6, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue announced Robert Farris as the Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC). The Director is responsible for all programs of the state forestry agency including oversight of all personnel. The GFC has 675 employees and an annual budget of approximately $40 million. The commission board approved Farris, upon recommendation from Governor Perdue.

Farris has served as Interim Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission since December 2006. Farris oversees the state agency's leadership, service, and education of Georgia's forest resources. Since joining the GFC in 1985, Farris has served as District Forester in Milledgeville, Statewide Training Coordinator, and Associate Chief of Protection. He has earned the GFC Director's Award for Outstanding Leadership and the Governor's Award for Outstanding Service. Farris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia. He is a Georgia Registered Forester, a Georgia Certified Prescribed Burner and a Georgia Certified Pesticide Applicator. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters, in which he has served a number of leadership positions, and is a member of the Georgia Forestry Association. He and his wife, Beverly, have four children.

GA SAF Signs Cogongrass MOU

June 9, 2008
During a historic cogongrass memorandum of understanding (MOU) ceremony, Michael Kelly, Chair of GA Division SAF, along with many other agencies and organizations, signed the Division on as an acting cooperator in the fight against the noxious weed species. As a follow up to establish a cooperative weed management area for the State of Georgia, a strategic plan will be developed incorporating strategies, activities, outreach, and any additional work undertaken to educate the public or employees/customers, on cogongrass, including control and management. Any efforts are welcome and could be vital to the overall success of our program. The strategic plan input target date is July 15, with all input incorporated into a single strategic plan for cogongrass in Georgia.

When developing plans, emphasis should be placed on the introduction of cogongrass into Georgia:

  • Tree Planters
  • Logging equipment
  • Contaminated fill dirt
  • Contaminated mulch
  • Hunters (food plots)
  • Mowing or construction equipment
  • Nurseries growing cultivars
  • Utility (power line) contractor
  • Homeowners (dug fruit trees with soil and root ball, or contaminated mulch)
  • Some groups have already begun their efforts and several media releases have been produced. The Georgia Farm Bureau published a story on cogongrass and the ceremony on The Georgia Farm Monitor (May 31 show). Download the clip here.

    Since our ceremony, multiple reports of cogongrass in Georgia have been published and many newly-found sites are in the process of being treated. Three new counties are now added to the list: Talbot, Carroll, and Haralson.

    Please keep in mind that the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA are available to help with training, and can provide some publications for your efforts.

    Please click here for a scanned image of the MOU document signed at the historic event (pdf). A link will soon be established from the primary cogongrass web site for additional information. Questions or concerns should be directed to James Johnson, Forest Health Coordinator, Georgia Forestry Commission

    July 1, 2008: 20th Annual Billy Lancaster SAF Youth Camp Continues Strong Tradition

    The twentieth annual Billy Lancaster SAF Forestry Youth Camp was held at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Camp south of Covington, GA on Lake Jackson from June 15 to June 19. More than 50 rising 7th and 8th graders from all over Georgia attended the camp with the goal of developing an awareness of the value of forest resources to Georgia's economy and everyday life. The Camp provides an indoor and outdoor classroom for energetic, inquisitive students to learn about forestry, wildlife, ecology, tree identification, fire protection, forest products and the people who manage these resources in Georgia's vast forests. It is sponsored by the Georgia Division of the Society of American Foresters.

    Wes Godbee, the past chair of the Georgia Division served as Camp Director as prescribed by the Georgia Division by-laws. He welcomed the campers and parents to the camp and explained the reason we have the camp each year. Kris Irwin of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources began the camp by introducing the campers to forestry as practiced in Georgia and as taught at UGA. The courses taught during the week focused on leadership training with field events led by the FFA Camp counselors. In addition to the customary natural resource courses, the Camp held a GIS/GPS geocaching event for the first time with 12 recreational grade GPS units provided by the camp allowing students to find 53 of 60 "caches" buried around the camp. There were several project learning tree activities as well as courses on urban forestry, paper-making and tree identification. We had wonderful presentations on raptors, "Hawk Talk" by Monteen McCord, and reptiles by Jason Clark, who operates Southeastern Reptile Rescue.

    On Tuesday, the campers traveled by bus to a logging site provided by Keadle Lumber Enterprises, then to the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center to see forest products demonstrations, including a portable sawmill demonstration and presentations on "how much wood can you cut from a log and building a log cabin." There were also field activities on deer and butterflies.

    Recreation is a big part of camp all week. The campers enjoyed horseback riding, skeet shooting, bow and arrow shooting, swimming, kickball, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball and miniature golf. Most of the campers also participated in a ping pong tournament. On Wednesday night, we traveled to Stone Mountain for the newly revised Laser Show and on Thursday we had a presentation on Forestry Careers and a test to see how well the students understood the coursework as well as how well we taught the courses.

    The overall goal of the camp, as it has been since Billy Lancaster helped found it back in 1989, has been to provide information on the importance of forestry and multiple-use management of the forest resource to the state of Georgia. We want these 12- and 13-year-olds to hear about forestry from foresters, to be able to get a feel for what it is like to cruise timber, to perform tree identification, to understand the importance and needs of wildlife in our forests, to make paper and hear about all the forest products that come out of trees. We want them to see the forests for the trees, to understand the ecological importance of forests, wetlands and the interaction of people and the wildland/urban interface as our cities reach out further into the countryside. Our hope is that as future voters and landowners, that they would have better understanding of the importance of forestry and would be better able to distinguish truth from media manipulation stemmed by radical environmentalists on important issues, such as clear-cutting, the need for forest management, setting aside of wetlands and the protection of endangered species.

    The Georgia Forestry Commission contributed over eight foresters and rangers as house and camp counselors for the students and deserve much thanks for their wonderful efforts. MeadWestvaco provided three foresters for coursework and counseling, Keadle Lumber Enterprises provided a logging site and Doug Taylor from Keadle used our newly purchased diameter tapes and clinometers in the forest measurements course. There were also a group of foresters representing the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia-Pacific, Rayonier, Grant Forest Industries, Forest Investment Associates, and a private consultant, of whom all contributed their time to help teach the courses. Dr Jill Lancaster, Fran Lancaster and Preston Lancaster helped register the campers on Sunday. Jill also serves as Recreation Director.

    All in all, it was a great experience for the campers and the foresters who helped out. There were about thirty sponsorships of $115 each from Georgia Division Chapters, forest industry companies and private individuals which helped fund the campers. More contributions in sponsorship and volunteer time are needed for next year. We encourage more participation from Georgia Division foresters as this is our camp and represents one of the most pivotal events held each year for the youth and forest industry in Georgia. Please visit the official Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp website for details on getting involved.

    January 8, 2008
    First-ever Georgia Comprehensive State-wide Water Management Plan
    approved by the Water Council

    The Water Council is a coordinating committee created by the Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Planning Act. According to the Act, the Water Council's purpose is to:

    View the approved Georgia Water Management Plan here.

    View related presentations given at the February 21, 2008 Pine Mountain Chapter meeting here.

    July 19, 2007
    Michael Clutter named dean of UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources

    Michael L. Clutter, who has been associated with the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources almost his entire life as the son of a faculty member and later as a student, researcher and professor, will become dean of the school on August 15.

    Arnett C. Mace Jr., senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, announced today that Clutter, the Hargreaves Distinguished Professor of forest finance in the school, has been chosen to succeed Richard Porterfield, who retired as dean December 1. Robert Warren, a professor in the school, has served as interim dean since December 1.

    An authority on economics of the forestry industry, including finance, budgeting and timberland management, Clutter earned master's and doctoral degrees from the Warnell School and has been on the faculty since 2001. He has also had an appointment to the Terry College of Business teaching faculty since 2002 where he teaches courses on corporate finance.

    Clutter has also held management positions with two leading forest products companies, Georgia Pacific Corp. and Union Camp Corp.

    Clutter's father, the late Jerome L. Clutter, was on the school's faculty for 20 years until his death in 1983.

    "Dr. Clutter has a lifetime relationship with UGA and an enviable record of accomplishment in both industry and academia," said UGA President Michael F. Adams. "Having recently named two deans from outside the campus to posts in the Terry College of Business and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, I am glad to find an equally capable person within our own ranks. In the Warnell School, where the marriage of theory and practice is especially important, I believe Dr. Clutter to be an outstanding choice."

    Clutter has conducted extensive research on financial aspects of the forestry industry and on timberland management practices. His work has been supported by more than $1.3 million in grants that he received individually or in concert with other researchers.

    He is co-editor of a book on timberland investment, author of numerous articles and other publications and served on the editorial board of the professional journal Forest Science.

    In addition to teaching in the Warnell School, he has taught continuing education courses on forest finance and thinning of pine trees for private firms. He received the Warnell School's Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2004.

    From 1983 until 1994 Clutter worked for Union Camp Corp. as a research forester and project leader for timber management and development. In 1994, he joined Georgia-Pacific Corp. as director of decision support for the timberlands division. From 1999 until 2001 he was vice president of decision support and information resources for The Timber Company, a part of Georgia-Pacific.

    Mace said Clutter "brings a broad and diverse background of expertise and experience from the private and academic sectors to the leadership role of dean of the Warnell School. His demonstrated excellence in instruction in the Warnell School and the Terry College, and his experience in research, public service and interaction with the school's many constituents, will serve him well in his new role.

    "In particular, his knowledge of, and working relationship with, a broad array of friends in the school, leaders and constituents will enable him to increase private funds essential to further development of the school and university," Mace said.

    Clutter is a member and past chair of the American Forest and Paper Association's forest inventory committee and served on the U.S. Forest Service's forest inventory and analysis review committee. He is on the board of directors of Forest Investment Associates Timber Partners, a major timber and timberland investment fund, and Silvics Solutions, a natural resources technology company.

    Founded in 1906, the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources is the oldest forest resources school in the South. The school has 53 faculty members and enrolls about 380 undergraduates and 160 graduate students.

    The school offers teaching and research programs in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture; forest biotechnology; forest business and management; water and soil resources; wildlife ecology and management; natural resources, recreation and tourism; and natural resource management and human dimensions.

    In addition to its four-building complex on UGA's main Athens campus, the school manages the 740-acre Whitehall Forest near the campus and more than 23,500 acres around the state that are used for teaching, research and service activities.

    October 23, 2007: SAF National Award Winners Hail from Georgia

    Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award

    Jack Elrod draws the long-running comic strip Mark Trail. Currently in its 60th year, Mark Trail features compelling story lines that use America's forests and natural resources as a backdrop. Published in 170 newspapers across the country, the comic strip reaches a wide variety of readers, both young and old. Moreover, a certain segment of the comic's fans—natural resources professionals—are known to enjoy the strip for its ability to address complex issues in plain English.

    Elrod took charge of the strip after its creators Tom Hill and Ed Dodd entrusted it to him in 1978. Nearly three decades later, Elrod continues to produce strips that reflect a deep commitment to the environment, forestry, and the people who appreciate both.

    In addition to drawing and writing the strip, Elrod has worked with the natural resources community on several projects, including a prescribed fire poster, a coloring book promoting the use of prescribed fire, an activity book targeted to 3rd-6th graders about living responsibly near wetlands. The booklets have been widely distributed by the National Association of State Foresters and through the US Forest Service.

    The Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award recognizes high quality journalistic coverage of topics that increase the American public's understanding of forestry and natural resources. Presented annually, the award includes a cash honorarium of $500.

    Barrington Moore Memorial Award in Biological Science

    Scott Merkle, professor of forest biotechnology at the University of Georgia's School of Forest Resources, is an internationally recognized leader in the discipline of tree clonal propagation through somatic embryogenesis, as well as in developing technologies to introduce genes into tree species. His successes with pine, yellow- poplar, sweetgum, American chestnut, and liriodendron are exemplary of the ground-breaking research that has enabled the larger academic community and industry to make significant strides in applying biotechnology to the genetic improvement of trees.

    In addition, Merkle's lab, in collaboration with that of Richard Meagher's lab at the University if Georgia, published a groundbreaking paper in Nature Biotechnology in which embryonic yellow-poplar cultures were used to regenerate transgenic trees capable of detoxifying ionic mercury by reducing it to metallic mercury.

    This paper was the first report of the engineering of a forest tree for phytoremediation. Traditional remediaton approaches, which involve dredging and reburying, are both expensive and destructive.

    The use of trees engineered with heavy metal detoxification genes offers an alternative that is both environmentally friendly and economically realistic.

    Outside the lab, Merkle serves as associate editor for 3 tissue culture journals and as associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

    The Barrington Moore Memorial Award recognizes outstanding achievement in biological research leading to the advancement of forestry. Presented annually, the award includes a $1,000 honorarium.

    John A. Beale Memorial Award

    William J. Barton has had a long and distinguished career of service to the Society of American Foresters. He joined SAF in 1948 and has since served in several volunteer positions, including chair of the Southeastern SAF; a member of the SAF Council; and Society president, a position he held in 1992.

    Barton has promoted forestry throughout his career and has been a strong advocate of involvement with forestry organizations, including the Georgia Forestry Association (GFA) and other forestry organizations. He served as GFA president from 1979 to 1980 and, while in that role, had a positive influence on forestryrelated legislation in the state.

    He was inducted into the Georgia Foresters Hall of Fame in 1999 and, as a vocal supporter of forestry education programs, has served on the advisory committee for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and served in several roles with his alma mater - North Carolina State University.

    Barton retired from the Union Camp Corporation in 1998 after a 32-year career in which he served the company in several roles, the most recent being division operations manager. After retiring, he started his own forestry consulting firm, the Savannah, Georgia–based Barton Consultants. He was named SAF Fellow in 1987.

    The John A. Beale Memorial Award recognizes outstanding efforts over a sustained period of time by an SAF member in the promotion of forestry through voluntary service to the Society. The award, presented annually, includes a $500 honorarium.

    March 28, 2007

    In Memoriam: William Oettmeier Jr.

    FARGO William M. "Bill" Oettmeier, Jr., 68, passed away Wednesday (March 28, 2007) at his residence in Griffin following a brief fight with cancer, surrounded by his loving family.

    He was born, Nov. 9, 1938 in Valdosta to the late William Merrill Oettmeier Sr. and Mildred Williams Oettmeier. He grew up in the company forestry town of Fargo and graduated in 1960 with a B.S.F. degree in forestry from the University of Georgia and was the president and general manager of Superior Pine Products Company. He had the unusual distinction of being the only person to serve as president of the Forest Landowners Association twice and as president of the GFA twice. His service to forestry, his state and community are unparalleled. He was president of the Georgia Division of the SAF, helped found the Flatwoods SAF chapter, served on the board of the Georgia Sheriffs Boys Ranch, served on the Georgia Forestry Commission Board, served as the forestry representative on the advisory board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for three year, and served on the Governor's Education Reform Task Force. He was an SAF fellow, member of the Georgia Foresters Hall of Fame, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources Distinguished Alumnus, Past Big Jayhook, AGHON member and Wise Owl recipient. An Oettmeier has been working for Superior Pine Products Company for more than 81 years.

    He was one of those foresters who come along once in several generations. He has made an indelible, bright mark on forestry. He was a modern renaissance man, first-rate forester, excellent hunter, fisherman and golfer, painter, ardent supporter of public education, steady leader and master politician. His was a trail marked with glory that few will be able to follow. He was a member of Fargo United Methodist Church and was preceded in death by a brother, Bert William Oettmeier Sr.

    Survivors are his loving wife of 44 years, Patricia Carter Oettmeier, of Fargo and Griffin; two daughters and sons-in-law, Lisa and John Rafferty and Gina and Judd Ficklen, all of Griffin; four grandchildren, Rachel Rafferty, Patrick Rafferty, Ashley Ficklen and Will Ficklen, all of Griffin; and several other relatives.

    His memorial service will be Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fargo United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at a luncheon in the church fellowship hall after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Georgia Sheriffs Boys Ranch, P.O. Box 100, Hahira, Ga. 31632, or The Oettmeier Foundation, c/o Superior Pine Products Company, P.O. Box 278, Fargo, Ga. 31631, or a favorite charity. Roundtree Funeral Home, Homerville, is serving the Oettmeier family.