Forest-focused organizations joined forces to honor, educate and connect with stewards of the land during the inaugural Alabama Landowners Conference in Prattville Oct. 14-16.
Conference partners included the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA), Alabama Natural Resources Council (ANRC) and Alabama Tree Farm Committee.
“Our goal was to combine three landowner-focused meetings to give time and money back to the landowner,” said ATFA President Lamar Dewberry. “We provided a central forum for landowners to get a quality education, fellowship and learn about wildlife and forestry issues.”
Wildlife authority Dan Moultrie of Moultrie Game Feeders and Trail Cameras entertained the crowd of over 200 attendees. Stories touched on the early days of his now-worldwide company, including the trap-and-35-millimeter-camera prototype of his Moultrie Mobile game camera, a self-activated camera with over 100 million photos taken to date.
“We’d take the roll of film out, reset it and go into Walgreens,” Moultrie said. “The big controversy was whether you paid for one-hour photography or waited a day. I promise you, that’s the way our game camera started.”
At the conference, B.J. and Jan Johnson of Cherokee County received the ATFA’s highest honor, the Bill Moody Award, for their multiple-use forest management.
Three individuals received the Gary Fortenberry Partnership Award for fueling ATFA’s mission through growing chapters, empowering landowners or coordinating outreach. Central Region recipients were ATFA Executive Director William Green and Alabama Forestry Association Landowner Programs Director Leigh Peters. In the Southern Region, wildlife biologist Andrew Green of the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources was honored.
Additionally, Lamar and Felicia Dewberry of Clay County received the ANRC’s W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award. The Helene Mosley Memorial TREASURE Forest Award was presented to Joan and Mike Newman of Coffee County, as well as Robert Amason Sr. and Robert Amason Jr. of Pickens County.
Regional Outstanding Forestry Planning Committee Awards were given to Butler, Cullman and Walker counties.
Cullman County’s Stan and Suzanne Woods were named Alabama’s Tree Farmers of the Year and will compete in the regional contest. The Tree Farm Committee also honored Brad Nail of Walker County with the Tree Inspector of the Year Award, while Todd Langston of Jackson County received the Alabama Tree Farm Doug Link Leadership Award.
Landowners sharpened skills during sessions focused on passing land to the next generation, forest management, endangered species and more. They also toured ArborGen Hardwood Nursery and the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s historic Lanark property.
ATFA officers for 2019 were instated during the meeting. Gary Cole of Monroe County is president, while Mark Finley of Winston County will serve as vice president. Wilcox County’s Jamestican Parham is secretary-treasurer.
The ATFA is a partner of the Alabama Farmers Federation.