PRESS RELEASE: (Missouri Department of Conservation) — The Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri (FWAM), in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), will host the Missouri Tree Farm 70th Anniversary Celebration in Columbia on March 1-2.

The event is open to Missouri landowners and others who are interested in learning more about managing wooded areas on their properties. The focus will be on participation in the Tree Farm System, a national program for woodland owners who are committed to sustainably managing their property for wood, water, wildlife, and recreation.

“You don’t need to participate in the Tree Farm program to attend this conference, but it’s a great opportunity to see what it’s all about and compare notes with other property owners,” said MDC Forester A.J. Campbell. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in keeping their woods healthy and thriving to attend.”

Campbell recently presented Boone County resident Mike Trial with his certificate for 50 years of participation in the Tree Farm System. Trial has intensively managed 50 acres of walnut plantations he planted decades ago with his father.

“Mike keeps very diligent records of his work on his property, including timber-stand improvement, invasive-species control, and deer-browse protection for young seedlings,” said Campbell.

Trial will be recognized as the Missouri Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year during an awards banquet on Friday, March 1. The banquet will also feature a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Tree Farm System, with scheduled speakers Chris Erwin from American Forest Foundation and Missouri State Forester Lisa Allen.

Prior to the awards banquet, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Barrel 53 Cooperage in Higbee, which is a family-owned whiskey barrel cooperage and stave manufacturer. A reception at Bass Pro is also included on the schedule.

For Saturday, March 2, session topics include information on initiatives to promote black walnut and white oak tree growth in the state, estate planning, threats to forest health, enhancing woods for wildlife habitat, timber stand improvement, cost share opportunities, and the current and future timber market.

There is a registration fee to attend, with additional fees to participate in the cooperage tour and the awards banquet. The conference will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 3300 Vandiver Drive, Columbia. Registration is available at forestandwoodland.org/events. Contact FWAM Executive Director Laurie Coleman at 573-353-6436 for more information and additional details.