SFI Blog: Our Story – A Georgia Tree Farm and Green Building

Read the latest blog post on goodforforests.com.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is about to begin the fourth public comment period on draft credit language for LEED 2012. Respected organizations are calling on USGBC to recognize all credible certification programs used in North America through LEED – including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm System, Canadian Standards Association, Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. SFI Inc. has invited views on how USGBC should treat third-party forest certification: In this post, award-winning Georgia tree farmers Earl and Wanda Barrs talk about the value of SFI and ATFS certification to family forest owners.

For the past 25 years, my wife Wanda and I have managed 1,500 acres of forestland in Bleckly County, Georgia. My family first settled this land in the late 1800s. Now, I am proud to say that our tree farm, Gully Branch, has been recognized nationally as a state-of-the-art forest.

Gully Branch is certified to the American Tree Farm System® standards, and our ATFS management plan outlines in great detail how we will protect and enhance our tree farm for timber, wildlife, water and recreation. I am a trained forester and Wanda has dedicated her professional life to education. Gully Branch has been used as one of Georgia’s premier outdoor classrooms and since 1994, more than 7,000 students and adults have visited our tree farm.