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Treasure Forest banquet planned

Tree lovers and tree huggers and everyone who appreciates the woodlands are reminded to mark their calendars for Feb. 20.

The Pike County

Chapter of the Alabama Treasure Forest Association will host their Fourth Annual Treasure Forest Banquet at 6:30 at Cattleman Park and all association members and prospective members are invited to attend. Registration and the silent auction will begin at 6 p.m.

The banquet is a time of appreciation, recognition and fellowship. It is also a time to acquire more information about the forests that provide valuable resources that directly affect every Alabamian's quality of life, said Carol Dorrill, a member of the Alabama Treasure Forest Association state board.

&uot;Alabama has more than 22 million acres of forest land,&uot; Dorrill said. &uot;The forests provide habitat for wildlife, such as deer, turkeys, squirrels and songbirds. Forests clean the air, purify the water and protect valuable topsoil.

&uot;Forests also provide recreation - a place to walk, picnic, hunt, fish, hike and camp. Forests provide timber, the raw materials that support Alabama's number one manufacturing industry. The list could go on but it just shows the importance of the forest lands in Alabama.&uot;

Dorrill said when one considers that most of these forests were cut over and the land was left bare and eroding during the &uot;cut out and get out&uot; era, present day forests are truly an unparalleled environmental and economic success story.

&uot;The success story has mainly written by private forest landowners that own 95 percent of Alabama's forests,&uot; she said. &uot;The Treasure Forest Program was designed to promote responsible stewardship by private forest owners. It provides voluntary guidelines for responsible forest management and is a recognition program for landowners that are good stewards of their forest land.&uot;

Dorrill said membership into the Alabama Treasure Forest Association is open to

individuals, companies, cities, schools and any organization that loves and respects the land.

There are several types of regular memberships including associate (non-landowners) $20 a year; growing (uncertified landowners) $25 a year; certified (certified Treasure Forest landowners) $30 a year; and Acorn (youth, ages birth to 19) $100.

Sustaining memberships range from $100 a year to $1,000 and corporate memberships are Forest Growers, $2,500 a year and Sustainable Forest Supporter, $5,000 a year.

For banquet reservations or membership information call 566-0985 or 566-3436.