November 15, 2016
Forest Stewardship Remains Strong in Kansas
For the past 14 years, Michael and Kathy Bovaird have been working to improve their 40-acre woodland in southeastern Shawnee County, Kansas. In 2006, they began collaborating with their district forester on a plan for their land. The strategy included selective harvesting, timber stand improvement comprised of thinning and pruning, vine control, wildlife habitat enhancement, trail improvement, and erosion control through water diversion.
That same year, the Bovairds enrolled in the Kansas Tree Farm program, and have remained active members for the past 10 years. The program works together with the Forest Stewardship program in Kansas to support and encourage woodland owners who are committed to sustainably managing the woodland and associated natural resources on their properties.
The Forest Stewardship program is a U.S. Forest Service program delivered through the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University. The Kansas Tree Farm program is a private not-for-profit organization funded by the American Tree Farm System.
Each year, the Forest Stewardship and Kansas Tree Farm programs jointly recognize a Kansas landowner who has done outstanding work in managing his or her woodlands. This year, Michael and Kathy Bovaird were selected to receive the Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year award.
“Both of us grew up surrounded by natural forests, and upon moving to Kansas, strongly felt a void left by Kansas’ sparse forests,” Michael Bovaird said. “We felt a strong need to find some woodland property and searched for several years before finding it. Since purchasing what we affectionately referred to as ‘Chiggerland,’ we have spent countless hours developing an improved forest stand, a place we now call Kamika, where we can enjoy the beauty of a forest we call our own, but are more than willing to share.”
As winners of the 2016 award, the Bovairds received a $200 gift certificate from Stihl, a commemorative plaque courtesy of Ecotone Forestry, and an award sign. They, along with the Agroforestry Stewards of the Year, Marvin and Twylia Sekavec of Ness County, will be recognized at the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts’ 72nd annual convention on November 21 in Wichita. The theme of this year’s convention is “Building a Conservation Legacy.”