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S.C. Forestry Commission Earns Land Stewardship Award

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National Wild Turkey Federation presented the 2011 Land Stewardship Award to the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC) during the NWTF's 35th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn.

The NWTF has given the Land Stewardship Award each year since 1994 to forestry and utility companies and organizations for excellence in land management, partnerships and NWTF project support. The award recognizes those who have done outstanding work to benefit natural resources through land stewardship and partnerships.

"SCFC was selected for this award because of their commitment to land stewardship, which is demonstrated through the multiple-use philosophy applied to the lands under their management," said Tom Hughes, NWTF assistant vice president of research and outreach. "SCFC also has partnered with NWTF and other conservation organizations to provide hunting opportunities to the NWTF's outreach program members as well as others across the state."

The SCFC is charged, by law, to protect and enhance all public and private forestland statewide. The commission's responsibilities extend beyond firefighting to include forest stewardship programs for landowners, invasive species monitoring and prevention, timber theft and arson investigation and aggressive economic development for forest-based industries in the state.

Despite massive cuts in funding and a reduction in the size of its workforce, the commission succeeds as a critical emergency response agency for fires and other hazards. Also, commission-owned lands serve as working forests — role models for how properly managed forestland can be both fiscally self-sustaining and productive. The agency is the only one in South Carolina whose lands generate a profit, while also giving 25 percent of the revenue to local schools.

The commission employs a staff of about 340 people including forest firefighters, who are based in every county for quick response to wildfires, and project foresters who assist landowners statewide. The commission also operates a modern forest nursery and greenhouse, which grow millions of containerized and bare-root seedlings for South Carolina landowners.

"I am very happy to accept this award on behalf of our entire Forestry Commission team and the state of South Carolina," said Gene Kodama, South Carolina's state forester and agency head of the SCFC.

"Winning this award from the National Wild Turkey Federation is special in at least two ways," he explained. "First, NWTF is an outstanding conservation organization and one of the commission's key partners. Second, the award proves that the commission's dedicated efforts to manage its state forests well and assist the other owners of the 13 million acres of forests in the state have truly been fruitful, even under very difficult financial conditions. The commission works extremely hard to accomplish its mission of protecting and developing the state's forests and improving the public's awareness of the forest industry, and greatly appreciates recognition of those efforts from partners like the NWTF."

The NWTF is a nonprofit conservation organization that works daily to further its mission of conserving the wild turkey and preserving our hunting heritage. Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $331 million to conserve 15.9 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.

2011 Convention Sponsors

MidwayUSA – Official Sponsor

Academy Sports and Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Bank of America, Benelli USA, Browning-USRAC, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Federal Premium Ammunition, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, HuntVe, Marlin Firearms Company, Mossberg & Sons Inc., Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nationwide, The Outdoor Connection Inc., Remington Arms Company Inc., Rivers Edge Treestands, SHE Outdoor Apparel, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, Weatherby Inc., Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester/Olin Corporation




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