COLUMBUS – White Oaks Farms, located in Knox County and owned by Bill and Bonnie Lawhon, was selected as Ohio’s Tree Farm of the Year.
The honor was presented in conjunction with the 98th Ohio Forestry Association annual meeting earlier this year in Columbus.
About the farm.
Located in some of central Ohio’s prime conservation farmland, the Lawhon’s White Oak Farms is a total of 225 acres with 104 acres in the tree farm.
When the Lawhons purchased the farm in 1992, the cropland had soil erosion problems and the crops gave only marginal yields. The woods had been logged but never managed.
With assistance from service forester Harold Bower and the Ohio Division of Forestry’s private lands assistance program, the Lawhons created a written forest management program. Since then, they have done timber stand improvement on 34 acres; harvested trees; constructed access roads; maintained a riparian forest; built a pond and a wetland; created wildlife corridors and planted trees.
The Lawhons – with the help of school and community youth groups, forestry students from Hocking College, family, neighbors and friends – have cleared, cut and planted trees since 1993. They have planted white oak, red oak, black walnut, yellow poplar, eastern white pine and even have an American Chestnut hybrid tree plantation.
In 1999, they harvested 123,000 board feet from 50 acres.
The public can visit White Oak Farms on the annual tree farm tour Oct. 13. Details will be released when available.
Jim Elze of Salem was named Ohio Tree Farm Inspector for 2001. Elze has been a service forester for ODNR Division of Forestry since 1979. He has certified more than 150 tree farms in the Ohio Tree Farm System in his career.
Elze served as chairman of the Ohio Tree Farm Committee in 1990, has received the Bronze and Silver Hard Hat awards, was the nominating forester for Tree Farm of the Year for 1985 and 1994 and has written numerous articles for the Ohio Tree Farm Newsletter.
Elze also serves as the advisor for the Northeastern Ohio Forestry Association.
The Ohio Tree Farm System has 1,804 certified tree farmers who manage approximately 465,000 acres of private, non-industrial woodland.
Ohio will be hosting the 2003 National Tree Farmer Convention in Columbus.