CADIZ, OH – Alan Walter, owner of the Sycamore Hill Tree Farm in Harrison County, has been named the 2015 Ohio Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“Productive, sustainable tree farms are an important part of to Ohio’s economic and environmental health because they help improve air quality, provide habitat for wildlife and offer aesthetic appeal that attracts tourism dollars,” said Robert Boyles, ODNR deputy director and state forester. “We are pleased to recognize Alan Walter for being an outstanding example of woodland stewardship, and we hope that his efforts inspire other landowners in the long-term care of their properties.”
Walter has actively managed his 150-acre woodland since 1990. Forestry practices that improve the health and productivity of the woodlands include grapevine and multiflora rose control, thinning to release crop trees and selective timber harvesting. Walter has special interest in managing his woods while improving habitat for non-game wildlife species dependent upon early successional habitat, especially songbirds. He is active in the East Central Ohio Forestry Association, a regional group of woodland owners.
The Sycamore Hill Tree Farm has been certified since 1994 by the American Tree Farm System as meeting their standards for woodland stewardship. This designation shows that as a certified forest, significant effort has been made to provide a renewable resource in a sustainable manner while maintaining a healthy forest that protects water, wildlife and recreational values.
A public field day is planned for Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Sycamore Hill Tree Farm to highlight conservation practices with demonstrations, as well as forestry and wildlife experts.
The Ohio Tree Farm Program was organized in 1946, bringing foresters and landowners together to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state committed to caring for their land under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System may visit ohiotreefarm.org.