Florida Society of American Foresters

2014 Events

November 12, 2014

National Leaders Visit Florida Division

by Charlie Houder

The Learning Center in the Austin Cary Memorial Forest near Gainesville was the perfect venue for Florida SAF members to meet with Bob Alverts, the incoming SAF president, and Matt Menashes, the organization's new CEO. At about 4 PM on November 11, the group of about 30 gathered on the deck overlooking Lake Mize before settling into a wide ranging discussion.


(from left) Bob Alverts, Matt Menashes, Dave Lewis, and Clark Seely

After a welcome by Florida SAF Chair Kimberly Burch, Matt Menashes opened his remarks with a story about the small staff at Tuskegee National Forest that demonstrated the pride in the resource all foresters share. Menashes asserted that he intended to build on that sense of pride.

SAF needs to engage the American public in a conversation on the value of natural resource management, and by extension, natural resource managers. But, Menashes said, SAF's 12,000 members cannot accomplish this alone. The Society must bring in partners to reach more people. SAF's role in the value equation is to provide the public with science, accreditation, and certification.

Turning to affairs within SAF, Menashes acknowledged a split the local and national levels. To address this, he vowed to examine and make improvements in four main areas:

Bob Alverts followed, describing the breadth of forestry programs as the, "liberal arts of natural resources." This enables foresters to work across many disciplines, he said. Alverts plans to emphasize the theme of "growing the pie in all its dimensions" during his tenure as president. To engage younger members, he proposed to "let the rookies play" and to make the organization fit the realities of current employment trends.

Alverts described some his experiences during his time in the area, citing silvicultural practices in the Southeast as examples of good forestry.

Returning to SAF affairs, he first thanked Dave Lewis for his outstanding service on Council, and particularly for his role on the finance committee. While discussing SAF's finances. Alverts then alluded to the sale of property at the national headquarters, saying he would propose using some of the proceeds to invest in the organization. Finally, as a challenge to all those in attendance, "We've all got to work on membership," he said.

Menashes and Alverts then opened the meeting to questions and comments:

In discussing SAF's forest policy activities, Menashes pointed to the Society's lead role in securing funding for the USFS Forest Inventory Analysis program. He hopes to "change the conversation on appropriations" by expanding the overall allocation for natural resources. He also pointed to SAF's role in establishing standards for carbon accounting, emphasizing that "markets matter." A carbon market will increase the incentives for landowners to maintain forests, he said. On a related note, he suggested that SAF should be involved in an effort to engage the European Union to address the misconception that forests in the southeastern U.S. are not managed sustainably.

The conversation continued after dinner beginning with an introduction by Dave Lewis of Clark Seely, the newly elected SAF vice president.

Turning to national support for local SAF units, Menashes noted that the 16 members of the national staff are stretched thin and would be realigned to maximize value to members. He mentioned making programs and activities easier for local units by offering services along the lines of "meetings in a box." Alverts mentioned the success of the Southeastern SAF in using a part time business manager, and suggested expanding that model. Menashes added that the Society needed to do a better job of utilizing social media.

The discussion then shifted toward SAF future membership. Reacting to the acknowledged homogeneity of the membership, Menashes indicated that the profession should move to reflect demographic changes as quickly as possible. Alverts noted that many look at foresters too narrowly. The Deming model of specialization should be reversed, he asserted.

Menashes said the SAF was not unique in its challenge to retain new members. The organization will need to be regenerated to fit younger members and to provide value for early career professionals. One idea supported by Dave Lewis is to offer the Certified Forester exam to students for free or at a reduced rate. The students in attendance supported the proposal and were then asked what more SAF could do to encourage their involvement. "I'll provide free pizza for any student event," Menashes offered.

Division chair Kimberly Burch closed the program with a short business meeting. She discussed the amendment of Division bylaws to allow two year terms for officers and initial plans for next year's Spring Symposium.


May 25, 2014

Suwannee Chapter tours Gainesville Renewable Energy Center

by Charlie Houder


Procurement Manager Brian Condon leads the tour for SAF members
View a slideshow of the tour.

On Thursday, May 22, the Suwannee Chapter held its first meeting of the year in conjunction with a tour of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC). Approximately 15 members attended. Chapter chair Jib Davidson opened the meeting by announcing plans for a program on the Amendment 1 ballot measure in September and a tour of the new Klauser sawmill in November.

Florida Division Chair Kimberly Burch provided comments from the state perspective, encouraging the chapter to to apply for grants from the Foresters' Fund to assist with local activities. She also promoted educational and community involvement and urged members to mentor students and recent graduates of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.

John Brushwood, GREC's Director of Communications, then gave a presentation on the 100 MW biomass facility that came on-line in December, 2013. GREC is a limited liability corporation owned by Energy Management, Inc., the developer of the Cape Wind project off New England's coast, BayCorp Holdings, and Starwood Energy. The GREC facility was built and is being operated under a 30-year power purchase agreement with Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU).

A total of 50 employees, working for various contractors, run the facility. The greatest number, 44, work for NAES Corporation. Brian Condon, secretary-treasurer of the Florida Division of SAF, is an employee of Bio-Resource Management, Inc. and is the facility's procurement manager.

The plant consumes one million green tons of wood per year:

Wood is delivered as chips at the rate of 2,100 tons, or about 100 loads, per day. Managers aim to keep an 18 to 20 day supply of fuel on hand at any time. Fuel stocks are divided between two chip piles, one automated and one manual, in order to provide flexibility and redundancy. The wood is delivered and maintained at about 40% moisture content. The facility's bubbling fluidized bed boiler is designed to operate with fuel with a moisture content of as much as 50%, but process efficiencies increase with drier fuel.

Forest sustainability is a key consideration in the wood procurement system. The agreement between GREC and GRU includes both fuel procurement standards and financial incentives for landowners who can supply wood produced under certain certification standards. A $0.50 per green ton bonus is paid for wood from properties enrolled in the Florida Forest Service Forestry Stewardship Program. Landowners are paid an extra $1.00 per green ton for wood from forests certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard. In addition, GREC is pursuing chain of custody certification under the FSC standard.

Brushwood reported that the GREC facility is the cleanest biomass plant in the nation and has gone the extra mile to address the concerns of its neighbors. Three principle areas of enhancement were discussed:

After lunch, Brian Condon led the group on a tour of the facility focusing on fuel delivery and management. View a slideshow of the tour.

Following the tour, the group heard updates from several of the SAF leaders in attendance:

The meeting concluded with a presentation by Jarek Nowak of the Florida Forest Service on the 2013 Florida Forest Inventory Project. The project, mandated by Florida statute, both used and augmented U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis data. Ultimately, a sustainability index of forest resources was calculated for each Florida county. An update of the inventory is planned and should address some of the issues raised by stakeholders. Among those discussed were:


April 20, 2014

In Memoriam: Kenneth Roberts "Bob" Swinford

Dr. Kenneth Roberts "Bob" Swinford, a teacher, mentor, and friend to two generations of foresters, died on April 15, 2014 at the age of 97.

Dr. Swinford was active in the Society of American Foresters for many years. He served as the Chair of the Florida Chapter of the Southeastern Section in 1955 and the Florida Section Chair in 1973. He was elected as a Fellow in 1984 and was inducted into the Florida SAF Hall of Fame in 2004.

Dr. Swinford was born in 1916 in Trader's Point Indiana. He graduated from Purdue University in 1937 where he had been President of the Forestry Club, and a member of the Xi Sigma Pi and Alpha Zeta honorary fraternities. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida's new School of Forestry in 1937. He also served as the Alachua County Extension Forester prior to World War II.

He served in the Philippine Treater during the war. He graduated from the Army's General Staff College and remained in the Army Reserve until retiring with the rank of Colonel in 1976.

After the war, Dr. Swinford returned to the University of Florida, receiving his MS in Forestry in 1948. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Resources Management from the University of Michigan in 1960. He was a professor of forest management at the University of Florida until he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1976. During his tenure he served as National President of Xi Sigma Pi.

Dr. Swinford was a charter member of Florida Registration Board of Directors, and served a term as a member of the Advisory Board of the Lake City Forest Ranger School. After his retirement, Dr. Swinford worked as a consultant with F & W Forestry Services, Inc. and Woodland Managers, Inc.


April 5, 2014

SFRC Dedicates Austin Cary Learning Center

by Charlie Houder

The University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation dedicated the new Austin Cary Learning Center as part of the School's annual Spring Celebration. The 5,000 sq. ft. facility with 2,200 sq. ft. conference space was made possible by donations by numerous members of Florida SAF. Leading donors included Harold Mikell, Wayne Smith, Jack Vogel, Ralph Jowett and Leonard Wood.

Following the dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting, the 600 attendees toured the building and viewed displays by units of the School. The building features cypress pillars and siding salvaged from Goethe State Forest and pine flooring salvaged from a the land of a client of Jowett and Wood.

As part of the SFRC awards ceremony, past SESAF chair Eric Jokela presented two awards on behalf of SAF. The Florida Division and SESAF Rising Senior Awards went to SFRC student Nicole Barbieri. The Florida Division award recognizes Nicole for her contributions to the SAF student chapter. The SESAF award is accompanied by a $500 scholarship to help defray the cost of attending national SAF or SESAF meetings.

Jack Vogel was then recognized for his election as an SAF Fellow.


February 1, 2014

Florida Division hosts SESAF annual meeting

by Charlie Houder

"12 tons/acre/year: The Science of Sustainably Enhancing Southern Pine Productivity" was the theme for the annual meeting of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters held in Panama City Beach on January 26 - 28. Aside from some repaving next to the ocean-front units, the Edgewater Beach and Golf Resort proved to be an exceptional venue for a program that attracted over 250 attendees, including 69 students. 2013 SESAF Chair Eric Jokela, Program Chair Alan Long, and Business Manager Sharon Doliver delivered what many described as the best SESAF meeting in years. The return to the topic of intensive management was widely viewed as long overdue.

Incoming Chair Kimberly Burch conducted the Florida Division business meeting during the breakfast session on Monday, January 27. She began by recognizing her fellow Division officers, Chair-elect Steve Miller and Secretary/Treasurer Brian Condon. Then setting the theme for the upcoming year, Burch indicated that she would focus on growing membership in SAF through enhancing relationships. She encouraged member involvement and specifically asked for volunteers to fill vacancies on several of the Division committees. Chapters were encouraged to apply for grants available through the Foresters' Fund. The next deadline for grant applications, it was noted, is February 15.

Brian Condon delivered the Treasurer's report. He highlighted that the Division had obtained it's own tax exempt certificate which could be used by chapters conducting activities to support the Division. The Division's past support for the Florida Forestry Association's Teacher Tour was mentioned. Continuation of that support received a positive vote later in the meeting.

Highlights of the chapter reports:

Finally, Wayne Smith made a plea for the nomination of Florida Division members for SAF Fellow. Nomination packets must be received in the National SAF office by February 28.

A tour of the Green Circle Bio Energy, Inc. pellet plant in Cottondale planned for Tuesday afternoon had to be cancelled due to an approaching winter storm. Still, warmth and energy can easily be used to describe all aspects of this outstanding conference.


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