July 25, 2006
OHIO TREE FARMERS EARN NATIONAL RECOGNITION
COLUMBUS, OH - Allen County residents Jack and Janet Sweigart, 2005 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year, have been named among the top four tree farmers in the United States, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry.
The Sweigarts were recently awarded the American Tree Farm System 2006 North Central Region Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award (covering an 11-state region), making them eligible for selection as the nation’s top tree farmers of 2006. The national winner will be announced in October at the National Tree Farmer Convention in Mobile, Alabama.
“The Sweigarts not only have an excellent tree farm, they are great advocates for Ohio’s forests,” said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Their extensive volunteer work in promoting forest stewardship and their quality management of their Allen County tree farm makes this national recognition well deserved.”
The Sweigarts were nominated for the award by ODNR Service Forester Mike Jurkiewicz who has assisted them in developing stewardship plans for their property.
In the 1990s, the Sweigarts planted 25 acres of their land by hand, using more than 10,000 seedlings - white pine, walnut, white oak, and red oak. They also used proper forest management practices to improve their 20-acre native woodland. Their trees have responded well to their management methods. Tree form, quality, and growth of their pole-size trees improve each year. The native woods, with its rolling terrain and small creek, contains sugar maple, white ash, green ash, walnut, white oak, red oak, bur oak, elm, basswood, hickory, beech, and unusual firewood-size ironwood.
The Sweigarts participate in many local, state, and national woodland-owner and woodland-educator activities. In 1993, they were accepted into the American Tree Farm System, a program of the American Forest Foundation.
The Ohio Forestry Association and the ODNR Division of Forestry jointly sponsor the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, part of the system.