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Tree farm inspector of the year

Paul Hudgins, a forester with the Alabama Forestry Commission, and a volunteer tree farm inspector, has garnered the state Tree Farm program's top honor for 2000 as Tree Farm Inspector of the Year.

Nominated for his high degree of volunteer work, Hudgins completed 14 tree farm re-inspections, placed tree farm signs, and recruited two new inspectors.

"Hudgins has also shown excellence in community relations activities, including helping establish an outdoor classroom in Chapman, assisting two boy scouts with the achievement of their eagle scout awards, and participating in the Butler County Forestry Planning Committee and state 4-H Forestry Judging Committee.

He is also one of only three official trainers in Alabama," said Doug Link, state Tree Farm chairman.

A statewide program sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Association, Tree Farm is sponsored nationally by the American Tree Farm System and the American Forest Foundation.

Inspectors serve over 2600 private Tree Farms comprising seven million acres of Alabama timberland.

Over 60 foresters have been trained this year alone to reinspect and certify Tree Farms.

They are responsible for reviewing

the landowners' land management plan for the past five years, recording timber products sold, and making recommendations for conservation practices.

According to Link, who is also landowner assistance area forester for Alabama River Woodlands in Monroeville, "Tree Farm is just as important today as when it began in 1942 in promoting forest management and stewardship on private timberland in Alabama.

Each Tree Farm must be inspected every five years to certify landowners' growing sustainable forests, providing trees for the future, as well as recognizing the benefits of wildlife, recreation and clean water."

The Tree Farm program also provides landowners with educational opportunities specific to pine management, forest taxation, wildlife conservation and training through the Master Tree Farm program.