The Evergreen Award
The Evergreen Award is presented to an organization that has contributed significantly to the forestry community in ways that are supportive of the Georgia Forestry Association's own mission.
This year's recipient, the Georgia Forestry Commission, proves its value to the state'f forests, forest landowners, and forest-based businesses and is widely recognized as one of the most outstanding forestry agencies in the nation.
"The Commission's efforts in fighting the rash of wildfires in the state over the past several years is nothing less than heroic, and the agency was instrumental in making sure that forestry's interests were well reprisented during the state water planning initiative which was a major contribution that is not well known by most in the forestry community," noted GFA President Steve McWilliams in the presentation of the award at the Association's Annual Conference in Savannah on July 8.
More recently the Commission's extraordinary effort to tell the positive story of Georgia's forests during the statewide showing of the movie, The Lorax, was further proof that GFC will go to bat for Georgia's forestry community wherever there is a need.
The Lorax, which is adapted from a Dr. Seuss book that tells the story of a world without trees, could have put the forestry community in an interesting position as the movie discourages the harvesting of trees.
However, the entire group of GFC professionals teamed with GFA and organized a statewide seedling giveaway at the premiere of the movie. The logistical and promotional efforts of the Commission prior to the movie release generated tons of community and media interest on the days leading up to the showing on March 2.
At the premiere of the movie, 174 GFC employees at 45 theatres across the state promoted sustainable forestry by giving away a seedling to each parent and child who walked in the theatre.
"Our goal for this project was to educate mainstream audiences about Georgia's abundant, healthy forests and all the benefits they provide," GFC Director Robert Farris said. "Not only did we have personal interactions with people at the movie theatres, but we reached tens of thousands more in media exposure surrounding the main event."
This creative and timely initiative by the Commission reminded Georgia's citizens that the use of paper and other products derived from trees provides thousands of Georgia jobs and promotes the planting, health and sustainable management of forests which in turn lead to cleaner air, abundant wildlife and beautiful landscapes.
The Commission's great attention to public awareness and ability to plan such an effective event has undoubtedly promoted Georgia's forests and communicated a healthy, sustainable message about forestry that will stick with many children for years to come.