Local farm becomes Treasure Forest

Published 2:09 pm Monday, October 21, 2019

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Honey Locust Farm is the most recent Chilton County property to receive the Treasure Forest Certification from the Alabama Natural Resources Council.

Owner Rodger Overton said he had heard about the certification while looking at the state websites related to forestry and land management.

“It takes time to do all of the things you are required to do to receive the certification,” Overton said. “It just meant that I was taking care of the property, the way I wanted to take care of it for wildlife, for aesthetics, for recreation.”

Overton said it felt good to have finally reached the milestone of certification.

“I can look around and see what we’ve done and see how much different the place looks, better and bigger,” Overton said. “It feels good, it really does. It’s very satisfying.”

Brian Smith of the Alabama Forestry Commission said the certification program “is Alabama’s way of recognizing land owner’s as being good stewards. It is an accomplishment-based program.”

The first step is establishing a management plan, then implementing and following the plan.

Once progress has reached a sustainable level, the landowner can apply to the program for certification.

The application included outlining the accomplishments on the property.

“In this application, we pretty much have to create a picture of what this property looks like on paper,” Smith said.

The application is read by a committee that decides whether to approve the certification. Even after a certification is approved, the council will come tour the property to ensure that best practices are still being followed as they had been at the time of application.

Smith said the committee depends a lot on the local Alabama Forestry Commission employees’ comments when reviewing an application.

Overton has also received the American Tree Farm System Certification and Forest Stewardship Council Certification for the property.