Over 140 forest landowners, timber professionals and wildlife experts shared the latest information regarding the state’s largest industry at the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association’s (ATFA) annual meeting in Atmore Oct. 13-15.
ATFA Executive Director Rick Oates said the annual meeting was a step in the right direction toward growing ATFA involvement and membership.
“This year’s meeting was larger than 2015, and we want to keep that up,” Oates said. “Our speakers and presenters gave sound, applicable advice our attendees can take home to their forests. We’re excited about the direction TREASURE Forest and Alabama’s forest industry are headed.”
The three-day conference began with a tour of the Poarch Creek Indian Reservation.
Poarch Creek tribal elders set the stage for a jam-packed meeting, which included silent and live auctions benefiting ATFA’s educational programs such as Classroom in the Forest and landowner tours. The auctions raised over $4,000.
During Friday’s luncheon, Pike County’s Gene and Jana Renfroe received the Bill Moody Award, ATFA’s highest honor. The award is named after retired State Forester William C. Moody, who established the TREASURE Forest certification in 1974.
“We just hope that through the sharing we’ve done with our property, others can learn and better their properties as well,” Gene said.
As the winner, the Renfroes received a painting depicting an ideal TREASURE Forest, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation. Montgomery artist Joel Sidney Kelly created the piece.
Additionally, three Gary Fortenberry Partnership Award recipients were recognized.
Pike County’s Randy Hale received the Southeast Region’s award. Northeast Region award winners James Barker and Richard McCain were fighting wildfires in north Alabama during the annual meeting. They were recognized at a Cleburne County TREASURE Forest landowner tour Oct. 27.
Friday afternoon was filled with educational sessions, including Southern pine industry updates, Game Check information, quail management skills and more.
TREASURE Forest landowners certified in the last year were recognized at Friday’s banquet. Newly certified landowners are Gean Harris, Cleburne County; Sally Rutland, Colbert County; Joe Street, Elmore County; Mike Hagen, Elmore County; Kevin Humphres, Lee County; Ted Vaughn, Marengo County; C.L. Dickert, Pike County; Hubert Matthews, Russell County; and Jenny Brown Short, Walker County.
Additionally, Lamar Dewberry of Clay County was elected ATFA vice president, and Pike County’s Carol Dorrill began a term as secretary-treasurer.
The meeting concluded Saturday morning following a tour of Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve and TREASURE Forest.
For more photos, find Alabama TREASURE Forest Association on Facebook or check the Alabama Farmers Federation Flickr page.