Saturday, September 9, 2017

Gary and Debbie Stratton, Illinois Tree Farmers Of The Year, 2017!

Gary and Debbie Stratton of Dahlgren are the recipients of the 2017 Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmer of the year.  This award presented by the Illinois Tree Farm Committee is sponsored by the American Forest Foundation and recognizes private landowners for their achievements in managing and modeling sustainable forest management.  Their goals, like many Tree Farmers, are to enhance wildlife by maintaining a healthy forest and utilize forest products to supplement their income.  Tree Farms across the nation are annually recognized for their efforts promoting sustainable forestry.

The Stratton's tree farm consists of 197 acres and has been in a forest management program for over 35 years.  Timber has been professionally marked for harvest on 3 separate occasions, thinning and crop tree release practices have occurred throughout.  A cabin was built using harvested lumber.  This property is a mix of forest and non-forest habitats with 3 wildlife watering ponds, six 1/2 acre wildlife openings planted with annual/perennial food plots and nesting/brood rearing habitat.  In addition, over 2 miles of hiking/access trails and several miles of temporary firebreaks necessary for controlled burning of invasive plant species are being utilized.  This multiple use concept makes it possible to manage and maintain a sustainable forest with the added benefits of hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife/bird watching and mushroom hunting.

Photo and text courtesy of the Illinois Tree Farm Committee; used with permission.

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