ODNR Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Forestry in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry honored two individuals and one organization for their outstanding contributions to forestry in Ohio at the Forest of Honor ceremony in Zaleski State Forest on Oct. 17.

“Conservation of a renewable resource is what forestry is all about,” said Dan Balser, chief of the Division of Forestry. “Our inductees have been passionate leaders in innovative forest practices and have enabled many other foresters, students, and landowners to practice better forest stewardship.”

Pictured from left to right: Todd Davis, camp director of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum, ODNR Division of Forestry Chief Dan Balser, Gary Kaster, Dave Apsley, and ODNR Assistant Director Mindy Bankey. –  Click image to enlarge

Trees were planted in the Forest of Honor to recognize the following recipients:

Gary Kaster
Gary Kaster significantly advanced commercial, private, and public forestry in Ohio by being instrumental in developing and implementing successful improvements to forestry practices that can be used at all levels of forest management in Ohio. Many of Gary’s achievements involved extensive experimental tree planting on American Electric Power’s (AEP) surface mine reclamation sites. He also served multiple terms on Ohio’s Forestry Advisory Council, including significant time as chairman.

Dave Apsley
Dave Apsley’s name is synonymous with forestry education in Ohio. His outstanding leadership and innovation are based on his tireless hard work and ability to network to accomplish well-thought-out goals. He is the primary coordinator and leader of the very successful “A Day in the Woods-2nd Friday Series” programming, now in its eighth year at Vinton Furnace State Forest and other southeastern Ohio locations. Due to his leadership, more than 100 presenters and partners have collaborated to teach and sponsor 70 programs to more than 3,000 woodland owners and enthusiasts representing the 125,000 acres of woodlands they own.

Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum
Located in Carroll County on the banks of Leesville Lake, FFA Camp Muskingum has been offering unique outdoor experiences since 1942. The forests, hillside, and lake offer prime opportunities for nature studies. When Camp Canopy (formerly “Ohio Forestry Association Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp”) needed a new home, FFA Camp Muskingum rose to accept the opportunity in the mid-1990s. They have been very accommodating and bring a high-quality staff to work with the high schoolers that attend Camp Canopy to learn about natural resources stewardship.

Induction into the Forest of Honor recognizes individuals, groups, and organizations that have contributed significantly to the accomplishment of the Division of Forestry’s mission and the advancement of Ohio forestry in one or more of the following ways:

  • Develop and/or implement successful improvements to forestry practices that can be used at all levels of forest management in Ohio;
  • Raise public awareness about the benefits of well-managed forest resources;
  • Champion legislation that results in a successful policy change to forestry practices.
  • Educate students in the knowledge, appreciation, and problem-solving skills related to trees and forest management.

To learn more about the Forest of Honor, please visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov/forestofhonor.

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