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The American Tree Farm System has named Charlie Williams of Munfordville as Central Regional Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. STIHL is the presenting sponsor of the Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year awards, which annually recognizes outstanding sustainable forest management on privately owned woodlands.
The award of a $500 Gift Certificate from STIHL was presented on June 15 at the 19th Annual National Tree Farmer Convention in Jacksonville, Fla.
Known to his neighbors as “the tree man”, Williams owns and manages West Wind Farm. His long history of forest management began when he was 12, when his grandfather presented him with a deed to a 90-acre woodland—part of a tract originally purchased by Williams’ great-great-great-great grandfather, Andrew Lang, in 1796. Today, West Wind Farm includes 1,100 acres of Lang’s original tract, and Williams has planted more than 75,000 trees on the property.
In addition to sustainable management of his land, Williams takes pride in educating the next generation of woodland owners and conservationists. He has held more than 4,000 Forestry Field Days—a day of work and learning—on West Wind Farm. “If you can teach young people who come to your farm that day something they never knew about trees, you’ve had a successful Forestry Field Day. If you’ve taught them well, they will teach others,” Williams said.
“Sustainably managing my woodlands for water, wildlife, wood, and recreation, which is the Tree Farm mission, has been a lifetime of meaningful and fulfilling work and play. For me, and all the Tree Farmers I know—our commitment to sustainable forestry is the cornerstone of our belief system,” Williams said.
“Family forest owners like Charlie Williams exemplify how the American Tree Farm System grows stewardship from the roots,” said Bettina Ring, Senior Vice President for Family Forests at the American Forest Foundation. “Charlie Williams’ passion, hard work, and commitment to the land that has been in his family since the early days of this nation are truly inspiring. Future generations will benefit from Charlie’s stewardship and his efforts to share his knowledge.”