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American Tree Farm System Honors Brittany VanderWall with 2019 National Leadership Award


WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2019) The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) is pleased to recognize Brittany VanderWall of Michigan with the 2019 National Leadership Award. The award recognizes the efforts of extraordinary volunteers for their leadership in motivating other volunteers, educating landowners and accomplishing his or her state committee’s forest conservation goals.

“Brittany has an incredible energy and enthusiasm for ATFS that is contagious. Not only has she inspired many other young forestry professionals to get involved in ATFS in Michigan, but also across the nation,” said Tom Martin, the president and CEO of the American Forest Foundation, the organization that oversees ATFS. “We are at a time where we are seeing a changing of the guard in forestry – both with land ownership, as well as with the leaders and volunteers in ATFS. Brittany is at the vanguard of the next generation of resource professionals leading ATFS and helping to reach more family forest owners, and helping them increase their impact on wood, wildlife and clean water.”

ATFS is an internationally-known recognition and certification program that provides family and private forest owners with support and tools to keep their forests healthy and sustainable. It is administered nationally, and run at the state level by volunteer committees. VanderWall has been involved with Michigan ATFS since 2015 and has served as state Tree Farm Chair since 2016.

Brittany VanderWall

Upon becoming chair of the Michigan Tree Farm Program, VanderWall led an effort to change how the committee conducts business, moving it to a task and training-based structure and providing clearly defined roles for volunteers. This effort has inspired more foresters, who now feel their time is more valued, to get involved in the committee. This, along with renewing an incentives system and streamlining other protocols has ultimately allowed the Michigan Tree Farm Program to service landowners more effectively.

In addition to her volunteer commitments to the Michigan Tree Farm Program, Brittany is the District Forester for the Presque Isle Conservation District, working full time assisting family forest landowners in northern Michigan.  Her role includes educating landowners about forest ecology, proper timber harvesting practices and programs to participate in that suit the landowner’s needs, such as ATFS.  In her four years at the Conservation District, she has participated in or hosted more than 60 workshops, educational field days and seminars.

VanderWall was presented the award by U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen on February 26 at the 2019 ATFS National Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.


Contact: Elizabeth Greener; (202)-253-1096; egreener@forestfoundation.org

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The American Tree Farm System® is a network of 73,000 family forest owners sustainable managing 19 million acres of forestland. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland system in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program, of the American Forest Foundation.