Forestry Commission receives top honor at annual awards banquet

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Keeping Butler County green is no easy task, but the Butler County Forestry Planning Committee nevertheless manages to do so each year.

Earlier this month, the committee was rewarded for its efforts.

The Butler County Forestry Commission recently received the award for Outstanding Forestry Planning Committee of the Year for 2012 at the Forestry Outreach Symposium and Awards Banquet, held at Auburn University and the Dixon Conference Center.

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The committee is composed of around 20 individuals interested in preserving the natural resources of Butler County, whether they be forestry-related or concerning wildlife or soil conservation.

Chairperson Paul Hudgins said that it was an honor to be recognized, but that it was truly a committee effort.

“It just means that our committee is working together to promote Butler County and the natural resources that we’ve got here,” Hudgins said.

“The land owners are doing their part to make what we’ve got better, and to improve on what’s there.”

The committee plans several different activities throughout the year for people of all ages, all with the intent of educating and informing the general public of the value of the area’s forests and other natural resources.

One of the most noteworthy events held throughout the year is the annual natural resources youth camp for area sixth grade students.

The students spend three days and two nights at a hunting lodge in northern Butler County participating in outdoor activities, such as tree identification, water quality analysis and firearms handling and safety.

Events such as these aren’t possible without the cooperation and support of the community, and Hudgins said that it was this support that propelled the planning committee above the competition for the award.

“(It) takes a lot of involvement,” Hudgins said.

“We have a lot of community support.  It doesn’t cost the kids a dime to go because it’s all sponsored by businesses and individuals in the local community who give toward this worthwhile project, and it helps to offset any costs the kids may have.”

The committee has several upcoming events planned for the Butler County community, including a workshop on beginning beekeeping.

The ability to branch out into new and exciting learning experiences is only made possible because of the contributions of good Samaritans in the community.

“It’s just a good feeling to know that you’ve got land owners and other interested people that are trying to promote the natural resources that we’ve got, and trying to get kids and other people away from the TV and realize that there are a lot of things that come from the forest,” Hudgins said.