Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 29

Original Partners and Funders for the Center's "Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention" pilot project launched in 2013 with funding from
the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc., USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service and USDA Forest Service.

He planted loblolly pines for future harvest. And, as
always, he dove deep into researching on his own.
Within three years, he was named a District Tree
Farmer of the Year for South Carolina and became a
Woodlands Community Advocate for the Center for
Heirs Property Preservation, which is a peer advisor
for other forested-land owners. "They use the term
evangelist," he says. "For now, I'm trying to get as many
black citizens, particularly, involved in this." He spreads
the good news about sustainable forestry while buying
shingles at Lowes, with the children he mentors at a
local middle school, at conferences, and even while on
a dinner cruise.
"Joe Hamilton is the type of landowner we'd like
others to look to and mimic," says Vince Keeler, who
took over as director of forestry at the Center when
Cook left last year. He convinced a Florida homeowner
to acquire land and use that purchase for sustainable
forestry, Keeler says. He coached the landowner
through all of the steps, including escorting the
landowners into the NRCS office to get them to sign up.
"We jokingly say that we'd like our participants to put us
out of a job."
But Hamilton is not the program's only success story.
"We had over 35 landowners that were either Tree Farm
certified or became Pioneer Tree Farms," says Cook.
McGregor says the program now has eight projects

in seven states. "There are 680 families registered.
They have received $2.5 million in EQIP [Environmental
Quality Incentives Program] funds from NRCS. There
are 50 or 60 timber sales already and hundreds of wills
have been done."
"The American Forest Foundation will be part of the
program's long term, sustaining work," McGregor says.
"Already, 100 African-Americans are seeking Tree Farm
certification."
Once, Hamilton thought of himself as a pragmatic
man for whom everything had a price. "I told my wife
and David Bourgeois, a forester, one day, 'Everything
has a price. Anyone who wants this land can have it,
at the right price. I'll walk away from it.' And they both
asked me, 'Okay, what would you do with, say $2.8
million?' I said, 'I'd probably buy another farm and build
another house similar to what we have now.'"
"My wife asked, 'What would you benefit by leaving
behind the story attached to this land, and going to
some other place where you will no longer have that
connection to Stephen Cunningham?' That really put
things in a different perspective. Even as an enslaved
person, this individual had the foresight to see the
importance of land. If he could see it, then how much
more we should be able to see today how important it
is to maintain our land, retain our land, and use it in a
sustainable way? You can't put a price on this."
a

Fall 2017 * WOODLAND 29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Woodlands - Fall 2017

Overstory
Tools and Resources
Forests and Families
A Legacy to Keep
From Forests to Fermentation
Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - intro
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover1
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover2
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Overstory
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 5
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 6
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 7
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 8
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 9
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 10
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 11
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 12
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 13
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 14
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 15
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 16
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 17
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Tools and Resources
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 19
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Forests and Families
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 21
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 22
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 23
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - A Legacy to Keep
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 25
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 26
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 27
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 28
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 29
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - From Forests to Fermentation
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 31
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 32
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 33
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - Feathering a Forested Nest
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 35
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 36
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 37
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - 38
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover3
Woodlands - Fall 2017 - cover4
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