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Kentucky-Tennessee Society of American Foresters | Eastern Kentucky University - Special Collections and Archives

Name: Kentucky-Tennessee Society of American Foresters

Historical Note:

In 1900 seven foresters, including Gifford Pinchot, created the Society of American Foresters. Its purpose is to promote sound forestry practices on public and private lands; to further the profession of forestry by improving the education of Foresters and the public; and to provide the catalyst for foresters to gather and share their knowledge and experiences, thus providing for the continuing education of professional foresters.

By 1940 Kentucky was part of the Ohio Valley Section, East Tennessee was part of the Appalachian Section, and West Tennessee was part of the Ozark Section. In early 1940 concern over having to travel up to 1500 miles round trip to a section meeting led Kentucky, Tennessee and Northern Alabama members to look into forming a new Section. In February 1941 E.G. Wiesehuegel requested guidance from the national office on forming a more local Section. Willis M. Baker and I.C. Burroughs developed the first set of Bylaws. A petition with Bylaws was distributed among foresters in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Alabama. The petition with 54 member signatures was sent to the national office on March 14, 1941. Council approved formation of the Kentucky Tennessee Section on February 24, 1942 with 123 members.

One of the primary purposes of the Society is to bring Foresters together at meetings to share information and experiences to further their professional knowledge. World War II delayed the first annual K-T Section meeting until September 24, 1943, with 57 members and guests present. The following standing committees were formed: (1) History of Kentucky-Tennessee Section, (2) Legislation, (3) Silviculture and Cutting Practices, (4) Stimulation of Technical Writing, and (5) Post-War Land Use Planning. The Legislation and Post War Land Use Planning committees were formed to provide guidance on how to influence the improvement of land management practices in the two states. The Silviculture and Cutting Practices, and Stimulation of Technical Writing committees were formed to provide guidance on how to improve the professional knowledge of member foresters. The first summer meeting was held in 1947. The summer meetings have historically been field trips to examine the affects of forest management on land. The annual winter meetings have conducted the K-T SAF business and provided a forum for discussion of critical issues affecting the improved management of forested lands. Some winter meetings are symposia of the latest research in an area of concern such as water quality, fire control, disease management, harvesting etc.

The winter meeting originally occurred in the fall of the year. Committee reports, chapter reports and awards for the year were presented at the fall meeting. The next year's committees and programs were planned at this time. In 1981 there was no annual fall meeting. It was moved to January so that more students and university faculty could attend meetings. Thus the annual reports of committees and chapters are presented in the beginning of the year, after the events occur. (The 1995 Treasurers report provides the income and expenditures of the 1994-year and the proposed budget of 1995).

In 1981 the Kentucky-Tennessee Section was renamed the Kentucky- Tennessee Society of American Foresters. The Society of American Foresters began in 1900 because: (1) The general public did not understand the importance of sound forest management as a critical component to our human survival, (2) Government legislators were not aware of the impacts that legislation has on the effective management of public and private forest lands. (3) The science and practice of forestry was complicated, continually improving, and required educated and trained professionals that can work with land owners and managers in their pursuit of productive and valuable forested lands.

The Kentucky-Tennessee Society has dealt with these three problems since 1943 and the same problems must be dealt with in the future.

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