ATHENS, OHIO — Dr. W.J. Lavelle was named the 2013 Ohio Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.
The Lavelle family’s Stonewall Farm in Athens County has been certified by the American Tree Farm System as meeting its standards for woodland stewardship.
This designation shows that, as a Certified Family Forest, significant effort has been made to provide a renewable resource in a sustainable manner while maintaining a healthy forest that protects water, wildlife and recreational values.
“Certified Family Forest Tree Farms show an outstanding commitment to healthy and productive forests, which are essential to our economic and environmental well-being,” said Robert Boyles, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry.
Athens County roots
Forestry practices that improve the health and productivity of the family’s woodlands include grapevine and invasive species control and selective tree harvesting. Food plots help to encourage a diverse wildlife population.
Maple syrup production is the family’s favorite springtime ritual, and the tree farm is a frequent tour stop of the Ohio Maple Producers Association.
A public field day is planned for Oct. 12 at the Stonewall Farm to highlight the tree farm and conservation practices with tours and demonstrations.
Forestry and wildlife experts will be on hand to facilitate discussions and answer questions.
The regionally known Coonskin Sugar Bush will also be featured.
Ohio’s tree farms
The Ohio Tree Farm Program was organized in 1946, bringing foresters and landowners together to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state committed to caring for their land under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System may visit ohiotreefarm.org/.