• 63°

Local man named GFC 2020 Forester of the Year

The Georgia Forestry Commission has named Region 4 Field Forester Stephen Martin, as the agency’s 2020 Forester of the Year. The prestigious award is given annually to a GFC Forest Management professional whose outstanding performance advances GFC’s mission to provide leadership, service, and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources.

“Stephen Martin went far above and beyond the call of duty this year,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Forest Management Chief Scott Griffin. “In addition to his regular duties as a GFC field forester, assisting southwest Georgia landowners in all aspects of forest management, he took on a tremendous amount of responsibility in response to Hurricane Michael devastation. He is a shining star within the forestry community.” Martin’s assigned management counties are Early, Miller, Seminole, Decatur.

Martin was recognized for completing 556 customer cases impacting 54,000 acres. He created eight detailed Forest Stewardship plans, covering a total of 6,602 acres. He also presented numerous educational programs to more than a thousand people. Martin tirelessly served landowners impacted by Hurricane Michael, making presentations at landowner meetings and helping assess restoration options for scores of people. In addition to coordinating assistance by other GFC foresters dispatched to the area to help, Martin organized field tours for political leaders and reporters and served a valuable communication function for the forestry industry. He played a huge role in the Emergency Forest Restoration and the Forest Debris Management Programs, which brought badly needed relief to area landowners. His positive attitude and his desire to help landowners, loggers and other foresters were key reasons for being selected this year.

Martin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management from Virginia Tech and has worked in the forest industry for more than 34 years. Martin was awarded a special plaque on October 23, 2020, recognizing him as the recipient of the Georgia Forestry Commission’s 2020 Forester of the Year award.