At the August Board Meeting the KWOA directors voted to go on record in support of the Forest Conservation Easement Program (FCEP) Act of 2023 (S. 2631), which was introduced by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). This legislation is designed to provide landowners with viable options for keeping their woodlands privately owned and functioning as working forests through conservation easement options. It replaces the previously unfunded Healthy Woods Act. The Conservation Fund is coordinating efforts on the national level; learn more at their website at www.conservationfund.org/fcep
The attached documents provide information in a press release, status report, and a letter that KWOA signed on to; an interactive map to contact your senator and representative, and a sample letter you could use to support FCEP.
Even if a conservation easement is not for you, supporting this legislation can help others preserve working forests for our future. If you have explored conservation easements in the past, it is worth reviewing this proposal because the plan fills a gap in existing programs and the economics may work better for you.
If you support FCEP, please reach out to your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to ask them to cosponsor the FCEP Act of 2023 (S. 2631/H.R. 3424) and support inclusion of FCEP in the Farm Bill. You can click the link in the Ky congressional districts PDF file below to go directly to your legislators' website. From there you find an option to email your senator/representative using their online form. A sample letter is given below to help you in reaching out to your senator and representative. Checkback for updates on this important legislation.
Don Girton, retired from the USFS after 27 years and in 1987 returned to his home turf in Campbell County, KY where he developed Tug Fork Tree Farm, specializing in Christmas tree production and mixed hardwood forest. The property is as beautiful as a national park only smaller scale!
In the early 1990's he began discussing the idea of launching an association of Kentucky woodland owners with fellow foresters and private landowners around the state. Those conversations evolved into Kentucky Woodland Owners Association (KWOA). In 1994 KWOA was incorporated as a 501 (c)6 with Don as the registered agent. In 1998 The Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation (KWOF) was incorporated as a 501 (c)3 with Don as registered agent. Both organizations based at Don's home.
Don served as newsletter editor from 1993-Winter 2005/6. As recently as 2018 he was actively commenting on our initiatives to develop our mission statement and related materials. Don was dedicated to bringing people together in appreciation of the natural world and recognizing our role as stewards of these resources.
Don was not one to grab the spotlight and basically asked that no memorial service be held when he died July 30. Even so tributes have poured in. Author Steve Flairty wrote "Kentucky by Heart: NKY conservationist Don Girton left lasting legacy as a friend of the natural world" in the Northern KY Tribune; it is a beautiful expression of the deep appreciation so many of us have for Don's contributions; read the article at nkytribune.com/2023/08/kentucky-by-heart-nky-conservationist-don-girton-left-lasting-legacy-as-a-friend-of-the-natural-world/. Also watch for the Fall issue of the newsletter for more about Don's career and contributions. KWOA and KWOF are proud to carry on his legacy as we work together toward the mission of bringing people and sustainable forestry together.
Do you have a forest?
The Family Forest Research Center, a partnership of the Forest Service says that whether you have “just trees” that shelter native plants and animals, a bit of “woods” behind your house where the kids play and you cut firewood, or a “tree farm” that earns your family income, you are a forest owner. If you have an acre or more of land with trees on at least 10 percent of it, you have a forest. If you own that forest as an individual, a couple, a family partnership, or some other grouping of unincorporated individuals, you are a family forest owner. Learn about resources available to you at
You can also learn more about Cooperative Forestry Services at https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/state-private-forestry/coop-forestry
Kentucky Woodlands Owners Foundation Scholarship is to provide annually
an award to an outstanding student enrolled in the University of Kentucky’s professional forestry degree program. The award will be granted based on leadership potential, connection with the forestry community, and insight into the forestry profession.
ELIGIBILITY: Applicants for the Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation Scholarship must be a full-time University of Kentucky undergraduate student in the professional program of forestry and have a minimum ranking of junior or senior at the time of the November 10th deadline date but has not graduated.
White House/USDA Forest Service Webinar on Underserved and Small-Acreage Forest Landowner Support Funding Opportunity
Tuesday, August 15 at 12:30pm ET to learn more about this upcoming IRA Forest Landowner Support funding opportunity and how to apply.
Submit questions and register in advance for this briefing: https://pitc.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_vjiC3LqWRoan6sZKt15lkg
Kentucky State University seeks to hire one full-time, permanent Invasive Plant Coordinator focusing on the Franklin, Owen and Henry County region of Kentucky. It requires an M.S. degree and has a salary range of $45k-$50k.
The duties are a combination of administrative work (e.g., grant writing and record keeping), partner coordination, Invasive plant management and technical guidance to landowners.
Apply and find details for the position titled Extension Associate - Forestry and Invasive Plant at the following link.