A forest of treasures

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2003

The Alabama Treasure Forest Association held its annual meeting Thursday night at the Troy Cattlemen's Complex. Themed, &uot;A Forest of Treasures,&uot; the meeting had a patriotic tenor as members of the association dined amid red, white and blue ribbons woven between pine needles.

Paul Hutto was given the &uot;Service to Forestry Award&uot; for his work with area timber and Carol Dorrill was named &uot;Volunteer of the Year.&uot; Jaine Treadwell was given an award for being a &uot;Friend of Forestry,&uot; for her coverage of the group in The Messenger.

Wayne Craft, the Pike County manager of the Alabama Forestry Commission, certified two additional properties as official &uot;treasure forests,&uot; and several others were commended for their forestry studies and stewardship with the awarding of the Bronze Master Forester award.

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Participants were welcomed by Malon Murphy, the outgoing president of the organization and were treated to songs by Sheila Fayson Jackson and a barbecue dinner. In addition, a silent auction was held, with numerous attractive items going to the highest bidders. James Malone, president of the state organization made a few brief comments, noting that Troy State University's arboretum is one of two forest learning centers in the state. The ceremonies were capped off with remarks from Malcolm McSwean, the group's new president for the 2003 year.

The organization is a non-profit dedicated to protecting forest lands from pollution and desecration. At the core of the group's philosophy is a desire to promote reasonable forest management and stewardship over Alabama's 22 million acres of forests, 95 percent of which are privately owned. Established by the Alabama Forestry Committee in 1974, the group blends market-based economics with environmentalism and an ethic of conservation. The Alabama Treasure Forest Headquarters is at the University of Mobile.

Stephen Stetson can be reached at stephen.stetson @troymessenger.com.