Ohio DNR names Walt and Donna Lange 2010 tree farmers of the year for good stewardship of Fulton County tree farm and statewide efforts to promote woodland conservation

COLUMBUS, Ohio , February 1, 2010 (press release) – Walt and Donna Lange from Swanton have been named the 2010 Ohio Tree Farmers of the Year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The ODNR Division of Forestry nominated the Langes for the 2010 Ohio Tree Farmers award because of their commitment to wise stewardship of their 56-acre tree farm in Fulton County, as well as their statewide efforts to promote the importance of forests and woodland conservation.

The Langes have dedicated their property to educating others about healthy woodlands, improving wildlife habitat and producing quality timber. Since 1966, when they first purchased their property, the Langes have planted seedlings, installed windbreaks and stream buffers, conducted sustainable harvests, and hosted dozens of workshops for conservation agencies and the public.

Additionally, their leadership in forest conservation is extensive. The Langes have worked hard to promote the value and benefits of healthy woodlands within the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, National Tree Farm Operating Committee, the Ohio Forestry Association, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Forestry Committee, and in partnership with numerous Northwest Ohio soil and water conservation districts.

“Donna and Walt are true ambassadors of forest conservation,” said David Lytle, state forester and chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Their dedication and hard work not only has benefited their land, but has inspired other landowners to realize the full potential of their woodlands.”

Approximately one-third of Ohio is classified as forest land, owned primarily by private individual woodland owners.

“Forested land in northwest Ohio is not as common as in other parts of the state,” said Thomas Collins, Division of Forestry service forester who advises the Langes and nominated them for the award. “The Langes have applied a variety of forest practices to their woodlands and we like to show off the results to other tree farmers and landowners. They make forestry fun.”

A field day, which will be free and open to the public, is planned for September 25 at the Lange Tree Farm, located 20 miles west of Toledo. The event will showcase the forest management activities practiced by the Lange family and celebrate this statewide achievement.

The Ohio Tree Farm Program, organized in 1946, brings foresters, consultants and government agency officials together with experienced tree farmers to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management in Ohio. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state who are committed to caring for their land to provide wood, water, wildlife and recreation conservation practices under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System should visit http://www.ohiotreefarm.org.

The state Outstanding Tree Farmer honor is awarded annually by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, which plans and administers the Ohio Tree Farm Program. The Ohio Forestry Association and the ODNR Division of Forestry are sponsors of the committee.

Ohio grows more acres of trees than corn and soybeans combined. The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s Tree Farm Program or woodlands, visit the Division of Forestry’s Web site at http://www.ohiodnr.com/forestry.

The Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at http://www.ohiodnr.com.

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