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2005 News of the Florida Division SAF

October 22, 2005

Suwannee Chapter tours Mallory Swamp
A small band from the Suwannee Chapter led by chairman Russ Weber ventured into the heart of Lafayette County's Mallory Swamp on October 20th. Members met with Suwannee River Water Management District forester Scott Gregor to learn about the district's efforts to restore the wetland ecosystem that was the site of Florida's largest wildfire in 2001.

Gregor along with Stefanie Nagid of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission explained the history of the District's 30,000-acre property and the steps being taken to re-establish both the natural hydrologic regime and the historic natural commumities.

Mallory Swamp is an example of a pocosin, a perched wetland dominated by shrub bogs and basin swamps. Water from the swamp drains into the Suwannee River on the east and the Steinhatchee River on the west. Industrial forest management increased the rate of drainage from the swamp and excluded fire for nearly half a century.

(from left) Stefanie Nagid and Scott Gregor discuss Mallory Swamp restoration with Suwannee Chapter members.

The property was sold to private conservationists Sam Shine and M. C. Davis in the late 1990s. A lightning strike on the property in May 2001 ignited an inferno that ultimately blackened 60,000 acres. The water management district which had held a conservation easement over the property since 1999, acquired fee title in 2002 and began restoration in earnest.

With the help of Wetland Reserve grants from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the district has begun installing water control structures to restore natural drainage patterns. The district is also capitalizing on the ecological boost provided by the wildfire by instituting an aggressive program of roller chopping and prescribed burning. The goal is to control the distribution of woody shrubs, principally ti ti, encourage the establishment of grasses in the flatwoods, and moderate the build-up of forest fuels. A comprehensive monitoring system has been established to track progress toward these goals.

Left, mesic flatwoods showing the effects of roller chopping and prescribed
burning on the groundcover vegetation.

Above, water control structures installed on one of the main canals to restore
the natural hydroperiod.

Members in attendance discussed management options with district staff, providing input on cost-effective methods of both vegetation control and reforestation. A follow-up tour contrasting the restoration at Mallory Swamp with the more traditional silvicultural management at the district's Steinhatchee Springs tract was suggested. It was generally agreed that such a tour might be of particular interest to SAF's University of Florida student chapter.

October 16, 2005

Date set for SAF/SFRC Spring Symposium
The next annual SAF/SFRC Spring Symposium has been set for March 28-29, 2006, in Gainesville. The main theme will focus on Biomass/Bioenergy. The talks should be of interest to all professional foresters as well as many others. The first detailed announcement will be coming out in November. For more information contact Dr. Alan J Long at 352-846-0891 or

October 5, 2005

Florida division members honored by Southeastern SAF
Two members of the Florida Division were recognized on October 3rd at the Southeastern SAF (SESAF) meeting in Savannah, Georgia. Each year SESAF honors individuals for outstanding achievement in education, research, and the general practice of forestry.

From left: Bill Consoletti, SESAF chairman, Shibu Jose, and Charles Maynard, awards committee chairman
Shibu Jose was this year's recipient of the award for research. Shibu is an associate professor of forest ecology and silviculture with the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation in Milton. He received his BS from Kerala Agricultural University in India and his MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University.

Shibu and his graduate students have done outstanding research in the areas of production ecology, restoration ecology, invasive species ecology and management, and mixed cropping systems involving pines and cotton.

Bob Heeke, Senior Land Resources Manager for the Suwannee River Water Management District, received the award for excellence in the general practice of forestry. Bob earned his BSF from the University of Florida and worked with Natural Resource Planning Services before joining the water management district in 1986.

Bob established the agency's land management program and has developed and implemented forest management techniques specifically aimed at water resource protection and natural community restoration. He has been responsible for an innovative multiple resource inventory program and has overseen the agency's licensure under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Bob Heeke, center with SESAF chairman Consoletti and awards committee chairman Maynard

Rebecca Watson, a harvest manaager for MeadWestvaco, received the award for excellence in public education and technology transfer. She was particularly recognized for her work with the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp, the Auburn University Industrial Wood Procurement Practicum, and the Flint River Council Boy Scouts.

The meeting program focused on forestry-related education issues at all levels. It concluded with attendees participating in a "Walk in the Forest" event at the University of Georgia Warnell Education Center with 250 area fourth graders.

April 20, 2005

Division Awards Presented at the SAF/SFRC Spring Symposium

On April 13, the Florida Division presented its annual awards:

Robert G. Gorman was selected for the Southeastern Section Rising Senior Forestry Student Award. Greg is a native of Jacksonville who worked as a licensed electrician for several years before returning to school to pursue a career in natural resources. He received an AA degree from Florida Community College in 2003 and enrolled in the UF/SFRC in the fall of 2003. He is currently working as a research assistant at UF/SFRC and is also employed as a maintenance electrician for Episcopal High School in Jacksonville. Greg is actively involved in the Forestry Club, a student member of SAF, the treasurer of the Forestry College Council, and a member of Gamma Sigma Delta. After graduation, he plans to work with the Division of Forestry (DOF) or a private consulting firm. Then, Greg wants to return to school to pursue a Masters degree in Forest Management. Greg is married and has two wonderful children.

Tyler Dreaden was selected for the Florida Division Rising Senior Forestry Student Award. Tyler is from Crestview and graduated from Crestview High School in 2001. He received his AA degree from Okaloosa Walton Community 2004, where he made the Deans list. As a Forest Resources and Conservation major at UF/SFRC, he has a GPA of 3.83. He has volunteered with the Natural Resources Branch at Eglin Air Force Base and works in the Soils lab. Tyler is a member of Xi Sigma Pi, the Forestry Club, the Wildlife Society, and the Co-chair of the student chapter of SAF. He plans to graduate with a BS in May 2006.

 Miranda Mae Funk was selected for the Florida Division Outstanding Graduating Senior in Forestry Award. Miranda is from Jacksonville and graduated from St. John's River Community College with an AA degree in 2001. She worked for DOF as Park Ranger at the Jennings State Forest from 1999-2001. Miranda has earned a 3.69 GPA while also working as a research assistant at UF since 2003. During Summer 2004, she interned with the National Association of State Foresters in Washington, DC. Miranda has served as co-chair and chair of the Student Chapter, SAF, and Vice President of the School Student Council while also active in the Forestry Club. After graduation, Miranda will be student services coordinator at UF/SFRC and plans to begin work on a Masters degree next year.

 Scott A. Sager is the recipient of the Florida Division Young Forester of the Year Award. Scott is Forester/Project Scientist with Environmental Services, Inc., where his responsibilities include wetland delineation, wetlands and wildlife permitting, vegetative community characterizations, wildlife surveys, threatened and endangered species monitoring, timber marking, and timber cruising/valuation. Scott was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Titusville FL, and earned BS and MS degrees in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida. From 1999-2005, as coordinator of academic services for UF/SFRC, he was tireless and effective in recruiting and advising forestry and natural resource conservation majors, course management, job placement, teaching Natural Resource Sampling for two terms, and assisting with various other courses. During this same time, he organized community blood drives and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, and, as on-site land manager for the Longleaf Ecology & Forestry Society, assisted with prescribed burning, reforestation, recreation management, and hardwood control. Scott joined SAF in 1995 as a student, was a member of the Suwannee Chapter until 2005, serving as chair in 2003, and is currently a member of the St. Johns Chapter, for which he is a candidate for Secretary/Treasurer in 2006. He has been a member of the Florida Forestry Association (FFA) since 1999. Scott is certified in Project Learning Tree and Prescribed Fire. He and his wife, Julie R. Helmers, have a young son and enjoy camping, hiking, canoeing, and other outdoor activities.

 M. A. Rigoni, Inc., is the recipient of the Florida Division Wood Utilization Award. Matthew A. Rigoni began the company as a logging contractor in 1960 and quickly became a leader and innovator in the industry. In 1979, the business expanded into whole tree chipping predominately to supply fuel chips or energy chips. The main market has been and continues to be the Buckeye paper mill in Perry, FL. Rigoni has literally operated throughout the state of Florida and also parts of south Georgia delivering to a number of mills. In 1995, Rigoni sold the business to Rodney P. Schwab and Gary A. Brett, who had worked with the company for 20 and 15 years, respectively. Both are committed to operating the business with the professionalism and integrity on which it was founded. In January 2003, Rigoni began in the mulching/mowing business to eliminate unwanted trees, bushes and woody debris and to release land for useful purposes. The company is highly mechanized and highly productive, has some 30 employees and 10 contract truckers, and moves an average of 250 truckloads of wood products per week. M. A. Rigoni, Inc., is in the forefront of an infrastructure for greatly expanded fuelwood opportunities in the face of rising oil prices and concerns about environmentally friendly fuels and about merchandising non-merchantable and waste wood.

 Janaki Alavalapati is the recipient of the Florida Division Stephen Spurr Award. Janaki joined the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, in 1998 with an appointment in forest policy and economics. He received a MS from Sri Venkateswara University in India, masters (Forestry) from State Forest Service College in India, and MS and PhD from University of Alberta, Canada. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta and a Resource Economist in the Canadian Forest Service. He worked as Forest Range Officer and Assistant Conservator of Forests in Andhra Pradesh, India. Janaki is an Associate Editor for Forest Science, special editor for Forest Policy and Economics, member of the editorial board of Agroforestry Systems, member of the Policy and Legislative Committee of the Florida SAF, and a member of the Southern Forest Economics Workers Steering Committee. He was a member of the Florida Trade Team to China that explored Chinese markets for Florida forest products. He has secured more than $5 million in support of research and teaching programs and has advised 5 post doctoral fellows and chaired or co-chaired 18 graduate student committees. His awards and honors include Graduate Teacher/Advisor in the UF/IFAS, supervisor of the outstanding PhD dissertation and MS thesis in the UF/SFRC, T.W. Manning award at the University of Alberta, CIDA Fellowship, and Indian Forester award. His technical contributions to forestry in Florida include: Climate change, forest carbon sequestration, and implications for Florida's forests, Integrating forestry and cattle ranching, Conservation easements and sustainability of Florida's rural lands, Market based approaches to promote biodiversity on Florida's NIPF lands.

 Philip P. Gornicki is the recipient of the Florida Division C. Huxley Coulter Award. Phil, from Glen Head, New York, earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Forest Management from Clemson University in 1975 and 1977, respectively.  He was employed by the DOF for nearly 14 years, where he held the positions of Palm Beach County Forester, Urban Forestry Coordinator, and Forest Resource Planner.  As Forest Resource Planner, he was initially responsible for coordinating the prioritization of activities in DOF's Cooperative Forestry Assistance program. Later, however, he also assumed the role of providing agency review and comments on county comprehensive plans being submitted to the State for final review.  Many of these plans sought to establish policies highly restrictive of normal silvicultural practices.  In March 1991, Phil joined FFA to oversee the forest product industry's response to the restrictive comprehensive plans being prepared for adoption at that time.  Phil took the lead in establishing "Local Forestry Action Committees" in dozens of Florida counties to mount a response to defeat the many burdensome, impractical and unnecessary proposals to limit or prohibit many forestry activities. Beginning in 1993, Phil's responsibilities were expanded to include working with a variety of regional, state, and federal governmental agencies on issues related to the regulation of silvicultural activities on private forest lands, as well as public land management.  Most recently, Phil coordinated with the DOF during the process which led to the formal adoption by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of Florida's silviculture Best Management Practices manual. Phil was awarded FFA's Distinguished Service Award in September 2000.  Phil is Chair-elect for the Big Bend Chapter of Florida SAF.

 Alan Long recently received national recognition, being elected Fellow for his years of service, dedication and accomplishments to SAF. He received his BS and MS degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from North Carolina State University. Alan is Associate Professor in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida. His teaching responsibilities include wildland fire, forest operations, and plant identification. Extension programs focus on wildland-urban interface fire, stewardship and forest management opportunities for nonindustrial private forest landowners, agroforestry, and continuing education for professionals. He is an active member of the SAF and FFA and has been the chair for the annual SAF/SFRC Spring Symposium for 8 of the last 9 years.

 Wayne H. Smith is given a Recognition Award for his outstanding leadership as Chair, Florida Division, 2004. He currently serves on the Executive Committee as the past-chair. During his tenure, Wayne was instrumental in invigorating the Florida Division and bringing to fruition two Forester Fund projects. Both projects involved historical marker dedications, with the first recognizing the Putnam Lumber Company (Lodge) in Cross City, Florida and the second commemorating the turpentine industry, families and communities in Fairbanks, Florida. Wayne also represented SAF on the State Fair Forestry Exhibit and Forestry Hall of Fame Committees. Wayne retired as Director and Professor of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida in 2003. Wayne returned to academic administration in 2004 and currently serves as Interim Dean of Academic Programs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

 Golden Anniversary Members in SAF

This year five Florida Division members who have celebrated 50 years in SAF were recognized. This year's honorees are:

            Mr. Porter Ause Brown Jr. (Suwannee Chapter)

            Mr. Don M. Post (Suwannee Chapter)

            Dr. John C. Meadows, Jr. (St. John's Chapter)

            Mr. Walter A. Guerrero (Caribbean Chapter)

            Dr. David A. Marquis (Caribbean Chapter)

March 26, 2005

Florida Foresters Erect Historic Marker Commemorating the Turpentine Industry

 The Florida Division, SAF completed its project on March 8, 2005, initiated with a Foresters Fund grant to site a historical marker entitled:  “Turpentine: Family, Community and Industry”. The marker, approved by the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Historic Resources, was placed in front of the private cemetery portion of the Fairbanks, Florida Baptist Church, and gravesite of Ellis Mize on State Road 24.  His granite tombstone was carved into a “cat-faced” southern pine stem with Herty cups guttered to catch the flow of gum. Below the face was a carving of a mule-drawn dip wagon used to collect the barrels of gum.

Florida SAF Chair Eric Jokela (right) and Wayne Smith pose with the historic marker that commemorates the turpentine industry.  It brings attention to an important part of Florida’s forest history and the families and communities that it supported. 

 The Fairbanks community was home of the Mize family turpentine still. Several of the original buildings still stand and are functional for other purposes. The Mize family was a great friend of forestry, providing land critical to accreditation of the University of Florida’s School of Forestry by the Society of American Foresters in 1942. This site and others contributed to Florida leading the nation in turpentine production for over 2 decades, with the peak year of production being in 1909.

 The program was moderated by Florida SAF chair, Eric Jokela, and featured comments by representatives of the community, the Mize family and several persons with links to the industry from turpentine farming to gum processing. The program was concluded with unveiling of the marker by Wayne Smith, project chair, with assistance from Judge Vernon Mize, relative of Ellis Mize and Germaine Ferguson, representing a family that worked at the Mize Still. A spokesman for the Alachua County Commission read a proclamation passed by the commission declaring March 8, 2005 as “Turpentine Recognition Day” in the county.

 Following the unveiling, a catered luncheon was sponsored by Rayonier, Inc., Georgia Pacific Corp., Hercules Inc., and Consolidated/Tomoka. In addition to the SAF Foresters Fund, contributions were made toward the purchase of the marker by Dr. G. Deckle and Jennie Taylor, Dr. Jake and Dot Huffman, Judge Vernon Mize, Chester Skinner, and Florida Division SAF.    

 For more information, contact Wayne Smith, Interim Dean for Academic Programs, Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, PO BOX 110270, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL  32611-0270; Tel. (352) 392-1961; Email:                   

February 28, 2005

Planning for the Future of Florida's Forests
Commissioner of Agriculture Charles H. Bronson and Division of Forestry Director Mike Long have announced a series of workshops to seek input on the issues that will shape Florida's Forests over the next 25 years. In a letter to "Friends of Forestry" Bronson and Long list the major forces of change to Florida's forests: "hurricanes, global wood markets, non native invasive species, wildfire, insect and disease outbreaks, threats to drinking water supplies, parcelization of our large contiguous forest tracts, less public access, conflicting recreational uses and more."

Beginning March 10, 2005, an assessment of the of the state's forest resource will be available on the Division of Forestry website at Interested citizens will then be invited to share their opinion through an online questionnaire or at any of a series of workshops that have been scheduled.

Milton March 22 Room 4902 Univ. of Florida Building, Pensacola Junior College
Tallahassee March 23 Eyster Auditorium Conner Building, 3125 Conner Blvd.
Lake City March 24 Columbia Co. Ext. Service 164 SW Mary Ethel Lane
Tavares March 29 Lake Co. Ag/
Horticulture Ext. Service
30205 St. Rd. 19
Palmetto March 30 Kendrick Auditorium Manatee Co. Ag Center/Fairgrounds
1303 17th St. West
Lantana March 31 Lantana Recreation Center 418 South Dixie Highway

The workshops will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and led by a professional facilitator. The information gathered will be incorporated into a plan that will be published this summer and open to public review.

For more information contact Charles Maynard, at or 850/414-0843.

January 30, 2005

Meet the New Florida Division Officers
Dr. Eric Jokela has taken the reins as the 2005 chair of the Florida Division. He succeeds Dr. Wayne Smith. Eric has been active in SAF for many years and has held numerous leadership positions with the Florida Division and Suwannee Chapter.

Eric is Professor of Silviculture and Forest Nutrition at the University of Florida School of Resources and Conservation. He joined the School in 1984 with teaching and research responsibilities in silviculture after having received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York. Along with his other duties, Eric currently serves as Co-Director of the Forest Biology Research Cooperative, which involves an interdisciplinary team of scientists seeking to understand the biological mechanisms controlling productivity, health and sustainability of managed forest ecosystems. He has served on the editorial board of Forest Science. Current research efforts focus on tree nutrition and the production ecology of intensively managed pine ecosystems.

Assisting Eric as chair-elect is Greg Driskell, an area manager of Plum Creek Timber Company, Inc. in Lake Butler. Greg received a BSF from the University of Florida in 1988. Among his various committee and leadership assignments, Greg served SAF as chair of the St. Johns Chapter in 2002. He will become chair of the Florida Division in 2006.

Dr. Jaroslaw "Jarek" Nowak is entering his second year as secretary-treasurer for the division. He has been with the School of Forest Resources and Conservation since 2001 and is stationed at North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. Originally from Poland, Jarek earned his Ph.D. from Mississippi State in 1996. He was chair of the Big Bend Chapter in 2003.

Go to the "Officers" page for a complete listing of Florida Division and chapter leaders.