Tupelo Miss. forester awarded for leadership

Mississippi Forestry Commission

Washington. D.C. – The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) is pleased to award Garron Hicks of Tupelo, Miss., and Assistant Forest Health Chief with the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC), with its 2021 National Leadership Award. The award recognizes the efforts of extraordinary volunteers for their efforts to catalyze on-the-ground conservation impact, provide educational opportunities to landowners, and support work towards his or her state committee’s forest goals. “Garron‘s passion for the American Tree Farm System is contagious,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation (AFF), the organization that oversees ATFS. “His leadership and drive to help family forest owners steward their forests inspires others to volunteer and grow the impact of ATFS. We are lucky to have him as part of our ATFS network.” ATFS is an internationally-known recognition and certification program that empowers family and private forest owners to keep their forests healthy and sustainable through guidance, tools and a wide community of fellow landowners. It is administered at the national level by AFF and organized into 42 state-level affiliates led by volunteers and partners. Currently there are more than 70,000 family forest owners in the program, managing more than 18.9 million acres. Garron has been involved with the ATFS Mississippi Committee for 12 years. Since becoming involved with ATFS, Garron has served as a Regional Chair for the committee and currently is serving as the State Committee Vice-Chair. Over the last three years, Garron has spoken at more than 30 events focused on educating landowners about the value that ATFS provides for them as well as for their land. He also conducts Tree Farm Inspector trainings, having conducted training for 40 volunteer inspecting foresters. But for Garron, the true joy of volunteering for the Tree Farm network comes in working with America’s family forest owners. “It’s these landowners, when you go out and present them with their Tree Farm sign, just seeing the passion and the excitement they get, knowing what it means to them, knowing all their hard work is being recognized, is a great feeling for them, but also for me,” said Hicks in his acceptance speech. “That solidifies for me, that I’m a part of something great.” “We are extremely happy for Garron on receiving the 2021 National Leadership Award from the American Tree Farm System,” said MFC state forester Russell Bozeman. “Garron works tirelessly with Mississippi landowners to help them achieve the goals for their forestland.” Garron Hicks was presented the award by AFF President and CEO, Tom Martin, on February 23 at the 2021 National Leadership Conference. About the American Forest Foundation The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a forest conservation organization, works exclusively to empower family forest owners to make a meaningful conservation impact around wildlife habitat, clean water, carbon sequestration and storage and sustainable wood supplies. We work across a broad coalition of conservation partners, corporations, and policymakers to empower family forest landowners and make sure everybody understands, supports and values the work of these landowners. AFF's signature program, the American Tree Farm System® is the country's largest sustainable woodland program with a network of more than 70,000 family forest owners managing more than 18.9 million acres of forestland.

Learn more: www.forestfoundation.org

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