Ohioans win national tree farm award

Koral and Randy Clum named National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year

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tree farmers of the year
Randy and Koral Clum, who have developed their 152-acre certified tree farm in Harrison County in east-central Ohio, have been named the 2018 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. (Photo credit: Kian McKellar)

WASHINGTON — Randy and Koral Clum of east central Ohio have been named the 2018 National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year by the American Tree Farm System.

The Clums have been managing Hepatica Falls Tree Farm, their 152-acre certified tree farm in southwestern Harrison County, since they purchased the property in 1993.

Randy Clum American Chestnut
On a recent trip through his tree farm, forester Randy Clum discovered a second American Chestnut tree growing a few feet away from a first chestnut tree. “We were always looking at the tree on the one side of the trail, and we never turned around to look at the other side!” he said of the find. (Susan Crowell/Farm and Dairy photo)

While Randy and Koral Clum had spent much of their careers in forestry, they hadn’t managed their own property until they acquired their tree farm. Since then, they’ve created a working forest that produces high-quality timber, managing for water, wildlife and recreation, as well as using their woodland to educate others about the benefits of the forest management.

Read our 2017 profile on the Clums

“It’s an amazing honor and I feel blessed to have worked with all the people that we’ve worked with. We are honored to be recognized in this way,” said Koral Clum.

Outreach important

“What’s been important to us about the American Tree Farm System is the education component,” Randy Clum added. “It’s a way to meet other tree farmers, to expand their knowledge, to expose them to bigger and better things, and to what other tree farmers have been doing for the last few decades.”

“The Clums are model landowners who have done great work on their land, for sustainable wood, clean water, improved wildlife habitat, and recreation,” said Tom Martin, president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation, the nonprofit conservation group that manages the American Tree Farm System.

“Randy and Koral have been terrific stewards of their land and have also taken that a step further to reach out to their neighbors and their community to all work together to make our forests healthier.”

The Clums are frequent speakers on forest management at seminars, field days and other educational workshops. The couple has also served on numerous advisory boards and held officer positions for organizations such as Ohio Society of American Foresters, Ohio Tree Farm Committee, Ohio Farm Bureau, and the East Central Ohio Forestry Association.

The Clums were nominated for the award by Jeremy Scherf, service forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and 2016 National Tree Farm Inspector of the Year.

“Hepatica Falls Tree Farm is one of the best managed properties around. So, when you think of forestry in Ohio, it’s hard not to think of Randy and Koral Clum,” said Scherf.

“While they are foresters by profession, they are generous educators at heart,,” he added. “The Clums volunteer a lot of their time to educate others about forestry, both locally and statewide. The countless hours they spend donating their time to help teach others about our forests is remarkable.”

Managing their land for timber sales, the Clums have adhered to the high standards of ATFS certification. This requires tree selection with consideration for forest health, spacing, risk, markets, aesthetics, wildlife, and long-term productivity. These best management practices and their love of the land have ensured erosion control near Stillwater Creek and they have protected and improved habitat for many wildlife species.

“Some people feel that cutting trees is hard on the wildlife, but in this part of Ohio, the missing component for a lot of wildlife is the early successional forest, the young trees,” said Koral. “We also leave cavity trees for birds, squirrels and other species.”

“Our past timber sales have been a blessing from the standpoint of creating more diversity as far as food and habitat,” added Randy. “It has introduced so much diversity with edge effect and young successional stage for so many different species of not only animals, but also bird species, insects, pollinators.”

Regional winners

In addition to the Clums, the American Tree Farm System recognized Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers: Russell Black from Maine; Jon and Carol Gould from Florida; and Dan Kingsbury from Washington.

Koral and Randy Clum
Throughout their combined 60+ years as professional foresters, Koral and Randy Clum have been counseling landowners to manage their woodlands. But they also walk the walk, following forestry management principles on their own tree farm in Harrison County, which was named the 2017 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year. (Susan Crowell photo)

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