TUNBRIDGE—The Vermont Tree Farm program is proud to announce the selection of Paul Harwood, consulting forester of Tunbridge, as the National Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector of the Year for 2015. Harwood was nominated by the Vermont Tree Farm committee in October 2014 and captured the Northeast Regional award–a noteworthy achievement in itself. He later competed against three other regional finalists and was honored with the national title for his exceptional on-the-ground work with family forest owners in Vermont and continued commitment to the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).
The award was announced at the National Leadership Conference held in St. Louis, Mo., according to a press release April 21. Harwood was present to receive the award, along with three other members of the Vermont Tree Farm committee.
“Paul Harwood’s dedication to sustainable forestry practices is evident in his work encouraging landowners to become ATFS-Certified,” said Sarah Crow, senior director of American Tree Farm System Certification at the American Forest Foundation. “He has truly made a difference in Vermont’s forestry community.”
Harwood has an extensive history in forestry work. His company, Harwood Forestry Services, manages over 45,000 acres of forest; he has worked for Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation as a specialist in forest resource protection. Additionally, he played an instrumental role in developing state guidance to help Vermont family forest owners enroll in ATFS, helping align the ATFS Standards of Sustainability and Vermont’s tax standards for forests.
“Forestry and Paul Harwood are synonymous,” said Kathleen Wanner, executive director of the Vermont Woodlands Association, who nominated Harwood for the award. “Paul is one of Vermont’s most valued inspectors who speaks passionately about the value of the ATFS program. His insistence that foresters are our hope for the future of the program has shaped the strategic planning process for the Vermont Tree Farm Committee.”
The American Tree Farm System dates back to the early 1940s. The Weyerhaeuser Company, a major timber producer, promoted the first Tree Farm as a way to bring the importance of forest resources to the public’s attention. It is now a program of the American Forest Foundation. Vermont’s state program is sponsored by Vermont Woodlands Association (VWA). There are approximately 500 Tree Farmers in the state and about 50 Tree Farm-certified foresters. Harwood is a Tree Farm facilitator who offers training workshops for foresters wishing to be certified as Tree Farm foresters.
Tree Farmers are woodland stewards who share a common love for and connection to their land and who proudly display the Tree Farm sign, a nationally recognized symbol of sustainable forestry. The program is third-party certified. Tree Farm foresters work with landowners to enroll their properties in the program and write management plans that address the four tenets of aTree Farm in the slogan, “Wood–Water–Recreation–Wildlife.”