The Georgia Forestry Association’s 2022 Annual Conference on July 29-31 on Jekyll Island was a huge success, attracting a total of 638 attendees, more than 25 elected officials and 44 exhibitors. Attendees were provided the opportunity to network with the largest group of forest landowners and forestry professionals in the state while hearing from industry experts and elected officials. Here are a few of the high notes from this year’s conference!
Connecting with Political Leaders
This year’s conference brought together a diverse group of more than 25 statewide elected officials and candidates for public office who spent time with members throughout the event.
- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp kicked off the conference at the Welcome Reception. That evening, Governor Kemp was joined by a host of State Representatives, State Senators and candidates for statewide office for the ForestPAC Legislative Champions Dinner, where more than 120 ForestPAC donors were given the opportunity to connect and discuss issues important to the forestry community.
- The following day, a group of Senators and Representatives faced off in an exciting game of Forestry Family Feud, where Conference attendees were able to connect with elected officials in a fun and relaxing environment.
Governor Brian Kemp addresses Conference attendees during the Welcome Reception.
Engaging Educational Sessions
Attendees had the opportunity to access more than 7 hours of virtual and in-person educational sessions that aimed to drive value for investments in forestland ownership and forest products manufacturing. Speakers ranged from economists and forestry experts to leaders who are driving investments in innovation and emerging markets.
- Most of the educational sessions are avialble to view online. If you are a registered attendee from the conference, you may access those session recordings on-demand. Visit www.gfagrow.org/annualconference or contact Digital Media Specialist Mike Gregory for more information.
Philip Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management, provides an economic outlook, highlighting inflation, consumer behavior and other drivers impacting forestry investments.
Supporting Forestry Education and Outreach
Throughout the conference, attendees supported the forestry education and outreach efforts through their support of the Annual Silent and Live Auction and the Georgia Forestry Foundation’s Sand Gnat Classic Golf Tournament.
- More than 90 golfers signed up to play in the GFF Sand Gnat Classic Golf Tournament
- $17,000 was raised through the Silent Auction, which supports programs through the Georgia Forestry Foundation, Georgia Project Learning Tree, Georgia Tree Farm Program and Georgia Teacher Conservation Workshop.
- $41,000 was raised through the Live Auction in support of the Georgia Forestry Foundation.
GFA Forest Policy and Membership Coordinator Destin Key shows off a black lab puppy from Mossy Pond in Blackshear, Georgia.
Recognizing Outstanding Members and Organizations
Each year, GFA and GFF recognize members, businesses and organizations that go above and beyond, representing Georgia’s forestry community with excellence while giving their time and resources to advance GFA’s mission and vision.
2022 Wise Owl Award
Marshall Thomas, President of F&W Forestry Services, was presented the 2022 Wise Owl Award, GFA’s highest honor. Marshall is a longtime GFA member and supporter, and he has served in a variety of volunteer roles including 1999 GFA Chairman and as a member of the Board of Directors and GFF Board of Trustees.
2022 Logger of the Year
Greg Mullis of Mullis Logging was also recognized as the 2021 Logger of the Year by the Georgia Forestry Association and the Southeastern Wood Producers Association. Greg is pictured below with his family and colleagues below. Learn more about his award here →
2022 Champion of Forestry Awards
The Champion of Forestry Award is given at the discretion of the GFA President & CEO. This year, Robert Pollard of Pollard Lumber Co. and Matt Hestad, Vice President of Engagement for the Georgia Forestry Association, were presented awards for their extraordinary service and dedication to the GFA mission and vision.
2022 Evergreen Award
The Georgia Forestry Foundation presented the 2022 Evergreen Award to the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) in recognition of their outstanding partnership with the Foundation to drive awareness of working forests in metropolitan Atlanta schools. Since 2018, GFF has partnered with CNC to conduct after school forestry education programs in schools across the Atlanta region. Since its inception, the partnership with CNC has reached more than 50 teachers and 1,100 students with in-person education programming.
Pictured left to right is Nick DiLuzio, GFF Vice President; Alicia Thompson, Senior Director of Learning and Engagement at CNC; and, Troy Harris, GFF Treasurer and Managing Director, Timberland and Innovative Wood Products, at Jamestown LP.
2022 Teacher of the Year
In a new partnership with the Georgia Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (GVATA), GFF annually recognizes an outstanding forestry teacher in Georgia. This year, Tim Griffeth, Agriculture Teacher at North Oconee High School, was recognized for his dedication to developing the next generation of forestry leaders. Thank you to Huber Engineered Woods for sponsoring this year’s Teacher of the Year award. Tim is pictured below with GFF Vice President Nick DiLuzio.
2022 Georgia Tree Farm of the Year
The Georgia Tree Farm Program recognized the Murray H. Gaskins Sr. Marital Trust as the 2022 Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year. The tree farm is located in Berrien County Georgia and is owned by Heather Brasell. Watch the video below to learn more about the farm and the award.