Southern Group of State Foresters Unite for Shared Goals and Lasting Impacts

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — From June 12-15, the Southern Group of State Foresters held its annual meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This significant event assembled forestry leaders from state agencies across the South to collaborate on emerging issues and challenges important to southern forests and communities.

Prominent leaders and experts representing 13 state forestry agencies, along with essential partners gathered for the 2023 meeting, themed “The Power of Partnerships: Forest Management in a Changing Environment.” Together, these groups focused on identifying and executing successful strategies to address present and future obstacles, ultimately generating beneficial outcomes in forest management.

A series of presentations commenced June 13 with the opening keynote speech delivered by Dr. Homer Wilkes, the U.S. undersecretary for natural resources and environment. Following his address, six notable individuals from diverse agencies and organizations took the stage to share their insights. Among them was Mark Hatfield, NWTF director of conservation services.

Hatfield’s presentation detailed the history of the NWTF and shed light on the various partnership opportunities available within the organization. Additionally, he provided an update on the NWTF’s ongoing efforts to support the Wildfire Crisis Strategy through the use of the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. The IRA is designed to enhance the adoption of clean energy sources and mitigate carbon emissions, while the BIL focuses on investing in critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, mass transit, water systems, resilience measures and more.

“I appreciated the opportunity to speak to the Southern Group of State Foresters,” Hatfield said. “Building partnerships is critical to increasing the health of our southern forests, and it is paramount to ensure we have robust turkey populations and resilient timber markets.”

The subsequent days of the annual event encompassed further meetings, discussions and engaging sessions. Participants delved into various forestry-related topics, exchanging knowledge and insights. Additionally, the event held an awards ceremony, where exceptional forestry professionals in the southern region were acknowledged and celebrated for their outstanding contributions and achievements.

Overall, the meeting showcased the commitment to partnership, knowledge exchange and proactive action necessary to ensure the long-term vitality of southern forests. Click here to learn more about the NWTF’s nationwide partnerships. 

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale. 

2023 is the NWTF’s 50th Anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50-year celebration, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and the NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

The post Southern Group of State Foresters Unite for Shared Goals and Lasting Impacts appeared first on