2017 Wise Owl Award

Published By: Megan Frame

2017 Wise Owl Award

On Saturday, July 22, the Georgia Forestry Association presented its highest award, The Wise Owl, to Mr. John Godbee. The award was presented at the 2017 Annual Conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

The Wise Owl Award is presented each year to an individual who is dedicated to strengthening the forestry industry in Georgia for landowners and businesses.

Godbee was selected for his many years of service to the Forestry Association and Forest industry in Georgia.  While chairing the Georgia Forestry Association Committee from 1988 to 1998, he utilized his unique ability to bridge conversational boundaries between Georgia’s forestry and environmental communities. John was a major contributor to Georgia’s Forested Wetland Best Management Guideline that was developed in 1989 as an addition to the overall comprehensive manual to better equip the forestry community to establish sound, responsible, guiding principles for silvicultural operations in the State of Georgia. John received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Entomology from the University of Georgia in 1972. He completed his formal education in 1974 after earning a Master of Science degree in Forestry Entomology from the University of Georgia.

Godbee put action behind one of the Association’s Core Principles of maintaining healthy markets by promoting the use of Georgia’s number one renewable resource. He served on the International Forest Industry Roundtable which led to mutual recognition between the various international forestry certification standards and enabled Georgia’s forest products to be more freely traded in international markets.

The Georgia Forestry Association is thankful for Mr. Godbee’s years of service to the forestry community. “John is an obvious choice for the Wise Owl Award,” said Marshall Thomas. “He has given over 30 years of continuous and wise leadership through various facets of the Georgia Forestry Association.”

The coveted and prestigious Wise Owl Award is a beautiful hand-carved statue from native Georgia wood. Beginning in 2017, a Wise Owl Award replica will have a permanent location at the Georgia Forestry Association headquarters in Forsyth, Georgia and will include the names of all previous recipients which include the following:

1980 Edward W. Killorin

1981 John A. Sibley

1982 A. Ray Shirley

1983 Mrs. Sue Clark

1984 C. Bonner Jones

1985 Eley C. Frazer, III

1986 Leon Hargreaves, Jr.

1987 James D. Strange

1988 William J. Barton

1989 Hugh M. Gillis, Sr.

1990 C.M. Stripling

1991 Larry S. Walker

1992 John E. Gunter

1993 Bill Dover

1994 Bill Binns

1995 Lewis Brown

1996 Harley Langdale, Jr. 

1997 Fred Haeussler

1998 Bob Izlar

1999 Jim Fendig

2000 Joe W. Bennett

2001 Bill Oettmeier

2002 E. Owen Perry, III

2003 Rusty Wood

2004 Blake Sullivan

2005 Earl Smith

2006 Chuck Leavell

2007 Jim L. Gillis, Jr.

2008 Gov. Sonny Perdue

2009 Fred Greer

2010 Cecil M. Hodges

2011 Dale Greene

2012 John M. Mixon

2013 Donna O. Gallaher

2014 Earl & Wanda Barrs

2015 Steve McWilliams

2016 Claude Yearwood

2017 Tree Farm of the Year: Waverly Woods Timber Plantation

Waverly Woods Timber Plantation, owned by Mrs. Rosalie Marris and family, was selected as the 2017 Georgia Tree Farm of the Year. This special 1,000-acre property in Camden County has been in the family since a land grant from King George III and has instilled a keen sense of stewardship within the current three generations of landowners.

2017 Outstanding Educator of the Year: Nancy Sartin, Valdosta State University:

Nancy Sartin was recognized as the Georgia PLT Outstanding Educator of the Year.  Nancy has been a certified PLT educator since 2011 and has reached countless teachers-in-training through her work with at Valdosta State University. 

2016 Outstanding Facilitator of the Year: Lauren Johnson, Education Coordinator, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center:

Lauren Johnson was recognized as the Outstanding Facilitator of the Year for having conducted the most PLT workshops in 2016 and actively promoting PLT. In 2016, Lauren trained over 100 educators in PLT. Since her first workshop in 2012, Lauren has trained 360 educators in PLT. 

2017 Outstanding Organization of the Year: International Paper:

International Paper Company received the GA Project Learning Tree Outstanding Organization Award for their decades of commitment to provide materials, financial resources and personnel support in the delivery of PLT in Georgia. Debbie Davis of IP has served as chair on the steering committee and in numerous other leadership roles. 

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