Maine Association of Conservation Districts Earns The Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award
October 23, 2019
For more information contact: Jim Britt at (207) 287-3156
Augusta, MAINE - Yesterday at the Blaine House, Governor Janet Mills, Commissioner Amanda Beal and Maine Forest Service Director Patty Cormier, recognized The Maine Association of Conservation Districts (MACD) with the "Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award." The award is the foremost recognition for Maine individuals, groups, organizations or companies that stand above their peers to show a continuous commitment or single exemplary contribution to the culture, heritage, and future of the Maine forest. The award was presented to Andrew Reed, MACD President and Carol Weymouth, MACD Executive Director.
"Our forests have always been -- and will always be -- at the core of Maine's history and our future," said Governor Mills. "Congratulations to the Maine Association of Conservation Districts on this well-deserved honor and on behalf of the people of Maine, thank you for all you do for our great state."
ABOUT AUSTIN WILKINS
Austin Wilkins pioneered the development of the Maine Forest Service and led the fight against the devastating forest fires of 1947. The fires that scorched the landscape in Bar Harbor and southern Maine's York County prompted Mr. Wilkins to develop policies to reduce the chances that such conflagrations could occur again. He was instrumental in the establishment of a forest fire compact that called for the six New England states, New York, New Brunswick, and Quebec to provide mutual help in battling fires. He joined the Maine Forest Service in 1928 and was appointed commissioner 30 years later by Governor Edmund Muskie. Mr. Wilkins retired in 1972 after serving under 13 governors as a commissioner or a deputy commissioner. Governor John Baldacci called Mr. Wilkins a ''true leader and one of the forestry greats of Maine" and praised ''his quiet and thorough approach and his eloquent speaking." Mr. Wilkins was the author of ''Ten Million Acres of Timber," a history of the Maine forestry district, as well as a book about the Civilian Conservation Corps. He remained active in forestry matters well into his 90s. He died in 2005 at the age of 102.
MACD represents Maines 16 Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Soil & Water Conservation Districts are agencies of the state that provide voluntary technical assistance to landowners on the local level. Conservation Districts were created by Maine and other states as a response to the massive loss of topsoil in the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s. Locally-led soil & water conservation programs have been a cost-effective response to soil erosion, non-point source pollution of lakes, rivers, and marine waters, and now, to the vital issue of mitigating climate change through better soil health practices and sustainable forest management. Forest management is a high priority for every Conservation District. Many offer annual tree and shrub sales to encourage property owners to plant more native vegetation. Several Districts provide portable skidder bridges (with assistance from the Maine Forest Service) that allow loggers to cross wet areas without damage. Many Conservation Districts have active or retired foresters on their Boards of Supervisors.
ABOUT MAINE FOREST SERVICE
Established in 1891, the MFS mission is to protect and enhance Maine's forest resources through forest fire prevention; technical assistance; education and outreach to a wide variety of audiences; and enforcement of the States forest protection laws. MFS offices are located throughout the state and provide Maine citizens with a wide range of forest-related services. For more information visit www.maineforestservice.gov.
Left to right: MACD President Andy Reed, MACD Executive Director Carol Weymouth, Director Patty Cormier, Commissioner Amanda, Governor Janet Mills, Maine Tree Foundation President Marcia McKeague, Tom Doore, Kennebec Soil & Water Conservation District Chairman