On May 26, 2016, Dan Peterson presented the Governor's proclamation celebrating ATFS 75th anniversary at the Wisconsin Council of Forestry meeting. Many key supporters of forestry were represented for the event: Wisconsin DNR, Great Lakes Timber Producers Assoc., Wisconsin Consulting Foresters Assoc., Wisconsin urban forestry, Wisconsin Woodland Owners Assoc., University of Wisconsin Extension, USDA Forest Service, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin State Assembly, Boy Scouts of America, Society of American Foresters, Nature Conservancy, and forest products industry representatives.
(Top picture: Dan Peterson, Chair of the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee with Paul DeLong, Wisconsin State Forester. Second Picture: Dan Peterson with Wisconsin State Assembly Rep. Jeff Mursau and Wisconsin State Senator Janet Bewley. All members of the Wisconsin Council on Forestry, Strong supporters of good forestry in Wisconsin)
In 1940 the westward expansion and divesting of corporate land opened the doors to individual landowners settling on large tracks of land. Education and support for landowners on forest management and other issues such as dealing with wildfire was not yet readily available, yet the demand on the forest products industry for wood supply continued to grow.
To meet these demands, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) was established, which became a forestry movement founded on the concept of recognizing landowner who practiced good forest stewardship and would encourage others to do the same. This conception quickly began to take root.
On June 12, 1941, the nation's first tree farm was dedicated near Montesano, Washington. Owned by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, the 120,000-acres Clemons Tree Farm launched a nationwide movement. Over the next few decades the American Tree Farm System would expand across all 50 states.
On August 16, 1955, Wisconsin included all classes of private ownership with a ceremony on the property of Fred Grunwald, Jr. in Waupaca County to become the first Wisconsin Tree Farmer of the Year. Prior to the expansion to private woodland owners, Wisconsin's program was restricted to industry ownership.
Today the American Tree Farm System remains a strong and essential program to conserve our State's forests and their benefits, with more that 48,00 individual and family members who own and manage more that 2.8 million acres of woodlands in Wisconsin.
The American Tree Farm System, a program of the American Forest Foundation, is made possible by volunteers from the local small woodlands associations, conservation organizations, forest products companies, university extensions, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Each year the American Tree Farm System picks Regional Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year out of submitted nominees from all the States in each of the Four Regions here in the United States. Wisconsin is in the North Central Region along with Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. The Kann Family Tree Farm was Wisconsin's nominee for 2016. They were the 2014 Wisconsin Outstanding Tree Farmers.
To read more about the Kann Tree Farm open the "Download" below.
David Czysz, Tree Farm Inspector and Wisconsin Tree Farm District 17 Chair, pictured here with some of the Greendale, Highland View Elementary School, Cub Scout Pack 509.
Two of David's Grandchildren attend the City of Greendale's Highland View Elementary school and are also involved with the Highland View Cub Scout Pack. David's daughter and son-in-law are active members of the Pack's leadership and for the last two years, David has worked with them and the Pack Cub Master, Tyler Roberts, to do tree planting for an annual Arbor Day activity.
David, working with a long time college and friend DNR Forester Julie Peltier, also a Tree Farm inspector, arrange the planting of some trees on the Kettle Moraine State Forest north of Milwaukee. This year they planted oak seedlings on an old farm field, part of Jackson Marsh east of Jackson Wisconsin, recently donated to the DNR from a local farmer. The goal is to reestablish oak on this property.
Rachel Jordan was inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame on September 19, 2015, at the Wisconsin Woodlands Owners annual meeting at Marshfield Wisconsin. Rachel was nominated by the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee for this prestigious honor.
She became an active member in the Wisconsin Tree Farm Program and the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA), and soon a leader in both organizations. She was the Wisconsin Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year in 1994 and in 1996 she was recognized as the best Tree Farm in the United States by being awarded the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. Rachel was the first ever to receive this recognition from Wisconsin.
Many WWOA meetings and field tours have been held at her Tree Farm. Rachel has spent countless hours teaching landowners, resource professionals, scout groups, grade school classes, women's club groups and any other group who would ask to visit her Tree Farm, about tools and techniques of sustainable forest management. She became well known, in Wisconsin, for her educational tours and talks showing the latest sustainable forestry practices. She has been a frequent speaker at forest landowner meetings, workshops and conferences throughout the Lake States, and has been a frequent guest of Wisconsin Public Radio and Television on the same subjects. She represented three Wisconsin Forestry Organizations at the 7th American Forest Congress in Washington, and also on several State Legislative Councils on Forestry and Wildlife practices and regulations. She served on several Forester Certification and Master Logger review boards.
Rachel served in a leadership capacity on the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Forestry for 12 years, discussing legislative and policy issues in Forestry, and part of the Governor's Council Executive Board for most of the 12 years. She chaired the National Public Affairs Committee of American Tree Farm System and met with legislators in our Nations Capital.
Alvin (Al) L. Barden, of Eagle River Wisconsin, was inducted into Wisconsin's Forestry Hall of Fame in September 2015, at the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association (WWOA) Annual Convention held in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Barden was nominated for the Hall of Fame by the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee, which previously named him as a recipient of this Leadership Award for his service as an administrator and committee chair. Al remains a friend of the Committee and continues to be an active member promoting sustainable forestry.
Barden received his B.S. Degree in Forest Management from Iowa State University in 1955 and a M.S. Degree in Natural Resources Administration from Colorado State University in 1970. He served in the Air Force Reserves reaching the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Barden has taught thousands of Wisconsin students, both young and old, the value of caring for our renewable natural resources. He was active throughout his career in developing, leading and improving organizations for family forest landowners, professional loggers, foresters and academia. He provided the tools and encouraged woodland owners to use all available public and private financial, educational and technical resources to assist then in managing their woodland. He, as an SAF Fellow, has received the Golden Membership Award and the Wisconsin SAF's John Macon Award. The Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, which he is an active member and a landowner, has recognized him with the Distinguished Service Award.
The Wisconsin Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2015 is Carl and Doris Mueller. They manage a 120 acres Tree Farm in Trempealeau County. Eighty acres are in the Wisconsin Managed Forest Law (MFL) Independently Managed Group (IMG) Certified under the American Forest Foundation Standards of Sustainability. They also have forty acres under the Wisconsin Forest Crop Law (FCL).