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‎The Leadership Nature Podcast

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The Leadership Nature Podcast features one-on-one interviews with diverse leaders from across the forestry and natural resources nation, and it is intended to spread the seeds of leadership insights, lessons learned and personal advice from experienced leaders to current and future generations of natural resource leaders. Each episode also includes a leadership tip of the week from the interviewer. Continue Reading >>
The Leadership Nature Podcast features one-on-one interviews with diverse leaders from across the forestry and natural resources nation, and it is intended to spread the seeds of leadership insights, lessons learned and personal advice from experienced leaders to current and future generations of natural resource leaders. Each episode also includes a leadership tip of the week from the interviewer. << Show Less
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166: Tap Into Your Local Resources. The Forestry Commission is a Wealth of Knowledge Wallace Wood has been an active member of the McCormick County, SC community for over 38 years. He served as the Executive Director of the Upper Savannah Land Trust for six years and has been on the board of directors several times since the organization began in 2000. In 2011, he was named South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year. Wallace walks both Tom and Emily through his farm and provides an American history lesson, as well as a personal lesson, on how the property has developed over the years and what it has meant to his family.   Key Takeaways: [4:35] How did Wallace get started in tree farming? [7:10] What did the farm look like when Wallace got his hands on it vs. what does it look like now? [9:25] Wallace’s father struggled financially early on and many people wanted to buy this land, but he would not budge. [13:10] Wallace shares a fun story of what he and his family would do on Christmas Eve on the farm. [16:10] Wallace talks about the Master Tree Farm program and how it’s helped him and his farm grow. [16:55] What’s it like being nominated Master Tree Farmer of the year? [19:20] What is a conservation easement and who should consider getting it? [23:20] One of the largest gold mines was developed here, and this was before the Civil War. [28:45] Wallace is very proud of his property and the vast diversity of God’s creation. He is passionate about sharing everything he’s learned with others. [29:10] What advice does Wallace have for landowners? [32:20] Wallace is so grateful and blessed he doesn’t see any city lights anywhere near his property. [35:25] We don’t know what the future holds, so it’s important that you have some flexibility with your land use. [39:30] Wallace’s motto is to leave the land better than when you’ve found it. [42:20] The biggest hurdle Wallace and his team have found within the Master Tree Farm program is helping other tree farmers go through a tree management plan. [44:55] Wallace is so passionate about the outdoors because during his childhood he was sick in bed for nine months. After that experience, he never wanted to be stuck indoors ever again.   Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org
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166: Tap Into Your Local Resources. The Forestry Commission is a Wealth of Knowledge Wallace Wood has been an active member of the McCormick County, SC community for over 38 years. He served as the Executive Director of the Upper Savannah Land Trust for six years and has been on the board of directors several times since the organization began in 2000. In 2011, he was named South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year. Wallace walks both Tom and Emily through his farm and provides an American history lesson, as well as a personal lesson, on how the property has developed over the years and what it has meant to his family.   Key Takeaways: [4:35] How did Wallace get started in tree farming? [7:10] What did the farm look like when Wallace got his hands on it vs. what does it look like now? [9:25] Wallace’s father struggled financially early on and many people wanted to buy this land, but he would not budge. [13:10] Wallace shares a fun story of what he and his family would do on Christmas Eve on the farm. [16:10] Wallace talks about the Master Tree Farm program and how it’s helped him and his farm grow. [16:55] What’s it like being nominated Master Tree Farmer of the year? [19:20] What is a conservation easement and who should consider getting it? [23:20] One of the largest gold mines was developed here, and this was before the Civil War. [28:45] Wallace is very proud of his property and the vast diversity of God’s creation. He is passionate about sharing everything he’s learned with others. [29:10] What advice does Wallace have for landowners? [32:20] Wallace is so grateful and blessed he doesn’t see any city lights anywhere near his property. [35:25] We don’t know what the future holds, so it’s important that you have some flexibility with your land use. [39:30] Wallace’s motto is to leave the land better than when you’ve found it. [42:20] The biggest hurdle Wallace and his team have found within the Master Tree Farm program is helping other tree farmers go through a tree management plan. [44:55] Wallace is so passionate about the outdoors because during his childhood he was sick in bed for nine months. After that experience, he never wanted to be stuck indoors ever again.   Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org
165: You’re looking at a Tree Farmer’s dream Walt McPhail, Brother Bill, and Dr. George Kessler (from a previous episode!) join Tom and Emily to discuss Walt’s farm. Walt and his ancestors have managed to keep the property within the family tree for a long, long time. He shares how he always knew he wanted to be a forester, why he’s been “retired” for nearly his entire career, and so much more, in this week’s episode!   Key Takeaways: [1:35] Before we hear from Walt, we first hear from Brother Bill on what he’s learned from Walt. [3:45] If you ever get a chance to work with Walt, do it. [4:45] Walt did the master tree farm course in the early ’90s. [6:35] Building a legacy is very important to Walt and he made it a priority to take his children along with him to show them what he was doing. [8:20] Walt’s girls were hesitant to take on the property, they would not sell it, but they had no idea how they were going to manage it when Dad’s gone. Walt came up with a solution. [11:50] How do you best manage tree poles? [15:55] How did Walt get into planting tree poles? [20:35] What’s Walt’s favorite spot on his property? [24:50] How do you determine what is a pole? [34:35] Walt talks about his family lineage and how they first came to America. [38:00] Walt always knew he wanted to be a forester, but he got into veterinary school to fund his forestry habit. [42:05] What lessons has Walt learned over the years? [45:00] What’s the best way to manage a tree farm? Brother Bill offers some advice. [48:50] What are the men most proud of in their career?   Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org
164: I couldn't have done anything more rewarding Dr. George Kessler is a Certified Tree Farmer and a Registered Forester. Dr. George is a recognized treasure in South Carolina for his extensive work in the tree farm community. He has dedicated his most of his career to extension forestry and has created millions of acres of healthy forests. Find out about Dr. George and his journey into forestry, his impact on the South Carolina community, and so much more!    Key Takeaways: [4:10] A little bit about Dr. George and his family. [8:25] Dr. George knew he wanted to be a forester in highschool. [11:35] How did Dr. George get started in forestry?  [13:00] What is Dr. George most proud of in his career so far?  [18:20] Land owners were eager to take any sort of forestry education they could get their hands on.  [21:45] Dr. George shares how he got children involved and excited about learning more about the environment. It was a slow start at first. [26:50] Dr. George is involved in a Christmas tree farm. He explains what that means.  [30:00] How did the tree farm program get started in South Carolina?  [33:30] Dr. George has created a beautiful community of tree farmers in South Carolina.  [35:45] How did Dr. George and his committee finance the South Carolina Tree Farm Program?  [37:00] Dr. George and his team are proud to announce that they have about 600,000 acres of actively managed tree farms in the program!  [39:00] What does Dr. George see for the future when it comes to the South Carolina Tree Farm Program?  [42:00] We hear a fun story about Dr. George and how he approaches tree farming. He can be stubborn as a mule!  [44:40] What legacy would Dr. George like to leave behind?   Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org
163: We Don't Take Away without Rebuilding Skeet and Gayle Burris are proud owners of Cypress Bay Plantation, a 2500+ acre farm and is nationally recognized for exceptional forestry, wildlife management and conservation. Skeet and Gayle share what it was like working on the farm in the very early days when it was an undeveloped 95-acre property. Lean in as Skeet and Gayle talk about how their vision back in 1986 has come true, and how they plan to keep the family legacy alive.    Key Takeaways: [2:00] How did Skeet get his start in tree farming?  [6:00] Gayle shares her version of the story on how the family got involved in tree farming.  [7:25] Feeding four boys during the very early days was not easy, but Gayle believed in Skeet.  [10:50] Skeet shares how he came up with his big picture vision for the farm. [16:25] Skeet was fortunate that he purchased abandoned and exhausted land and, over time, built it into something.  [17:40] How did Skeet get tree farm certified?  [19:40] What does tree farming mean to Skeet?  [22:15] Skeet’s vision came true. What’s his vision going forward in 2021 and beyond?  [24:35] Skeet and his family have made an active effort to support conservation efforts on their farm and it’s paid off!  [26:45] Gayle realized in the early days that the boys had a negative association with the farm because it meant ‘hard work’. So she worked on creating long-lasting traditions and positive memories with the whole family and friends in the community. Now, whenever her boys come, they’re proud to show their children what they’ve built.  [31:25] As Skeet was building up the farm, Gayle realized she also needed a niche and decided to get into photography.  [34:15] How did the name Cypress Bay come about?  [35:40] Skeet talks a little bit about his love for South Carolina.  [43:00] What words of wisdom and tips does Skeet  and Gayle have for fellow tree farmers?    Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org Cypressbayplantation.com
162: The Call of the Bobwhite Is Now a Normal Thing John Spearman is a retired Colonel for the US Army and the President of Deer Hill, an award winning tree farming operation. John has been part of this farm since 1977 and shares a little bit about its rich history, the family legacy he is building with his farm, and just his love for being outdoors. John and his family have been able to create alternative income sources on his property that go beyond timber and trees!    Key Takeaways: [2:10] Colonel John introduces his son, Von, who is a forester!  [5:50] Both Colonel John and Von describe their land and some of it’s important historical landmarks. [11:00] How did Colonel John find his property and purchase it?  [14:10] Colonel John proposed the idea to his father-in-law to plant pine trees on the property. [15:45] Colonel John was working two jobs, one for the military and one on his farm. He was a younger man back then and could do that kind of work.  [20:00] When Colonel John’s father in law passed away, his father took on the role of managing the farm in Colonel John’s absence.  [21:25] When Colonel John received the district tree farm award, he wondered why they didn’t receive the state tree farm award.  [22:15] How do you properly market the timber on a tree farm? Colonel John got creative.  [25:25] By preparing Colonel John’s thesis, it gave him a long-term plan and it deeply rooted himself in his business. [26:45] Do quail and turkey flourish in a pine plantation?  [29:10] What research projects is Colonel John currently involved in and what has he learned thus far?  [30:35] Von explains what ‘trashy farming’ looks like.  [32:45] Von shares what kind of things he’s planted on the farm thus far.  [35:05] Colonel John provides a bit of backstory to the watershed and it’s importance to making this whole ecosystem work.  [36:00] Von shares how they make money off of their tree farm, and it’s not just from the trees!  [37:30] Colonel John shares his plans for the future and what he hopes to achieve with the farm.  [40:10] It’s Colonel John’s duty to leave the land in a better condition than when he started.  [40:40] How does Colonel John plan to pass on the tree farming business to his children?    Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org
161: Preserve Your Culture History by Keeping Your Land in The Family Annie Ruth Jones is a three generation land owner and has successfully used her land to plant and sell trees. Her grandparents bought the land she is currently standing on in 1935 and she is very proud that she has kept the family legacy alive all these years later. She also credits the Center of Heirs Property for helping her guide her and find the right resources to make a living out of her land. Find out more about Annie and her property on this week’s episode!    Key Takeaways: [2:15] Annie shares a little bit about her land and her family.  [4:25] Annie shares her family tree and how she came to inherit her property.  [9:25] Annie’s father stressed the importance that everyone in his family finish highschool.  [11:00] Annie talks about her father and what kind of man he is.  [12:00] Hold on to the land because they’re not making any more of it.  [13:40] A quick introduction to Kenneth Dunn and what he does for the Center of Heirs Property. [17:45] Annie can not stand the tree frogs!  [24:00] Annie does a tour of her property and talks about why she loves a particular tree.  [27:45] As a black family, trying to hold onto property is very expensive. This is why Annie loves resources provided by Kenneth Dunn and others.  [31:05] Annie made a promise to herself that she would not sell her land.  [32:55] Annie feels so blessed to have been able to keep the property in her family name thus far.  [34:15] It’s up to the younger generation now to see if they want to keep up tree farming.  [34:40] Kenneth explains some of the challenges African American landowners have when it comes to keeping their land.  [38:20] Without Heirs Property help, landowners really can get taken advantage of.  [41:25] Annie shares how the family makes a decision together when it comes to their property.  [42:50] What do you need to do to become a certified tree farmer?    Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Heirsproperty.org Kenneth on LinkedIn
160: Tree Farming Is a Way of Life for Me Randell Ewing is a tree farmer with deep roots in Darlington County, South Carolina. He got into tree farming by accident when he purchased a small piece of land in his early 20s for hunting purposes. Since then, he’s grown his property by thousands of acres and it’s now turned into a family business with him and his son. Listen in as you hear Randell’s stories about his tree farm and the amount of pride he has for growing trees.    Key Takeaways: [1:40] Where did the name for Randell’s farm, Indian Summer, come from?  [2:40] How did Randell get started in tree farming? [5:50] Randell got his start on 15 acres and originally wanted to use it for hunting. However, he never actually hunted on it, instead he used it for conservation.  [7:25] Randell shares a little bit about his wife, who has since passed on.  [10:35] Randell shows Tom and Emily some of the coolest things he owns in his barn/storage. [15:45] Randell dives into how he found out about tree farming.  [17:40] How did Randell and his son start working together?  [19:30] Randell was worried at first that the business would struggle if he brought is son in, but it has been a blessing.  [22:35] We hear a little bit from Randell’s son, Randell Jr.!  [26:35] Why is Randell so passionate about tree farming?  [29:25] It’s just common sense to plant trees. You’re helping the environment.  [30:10] A walk through the forest is almost like going to church. [31:05] Randell Jr. shares a fond memory he had on his dad’s farm. [37:00] If you can’t look after your business, better hire someone to help you.  [41:05] Everything Randell has learned today has come from the tree farm program. There are a lot of programs and resources out there for you!  [41:45] It’s important to be an advocate for trees, environment, and more, because the politicians in big cities aren’t aware of their importance. You have to let them know.  [45:15] What is Randell thankful for?
159: 990 Acres That I Am Very Proud To Own Eddie and Linda Drayton are the owners of Cat Tail Tree Farm. Eddie is a retired forester and spends his retirement days as a tree farmer. As a man in his 80s, Eddie wakes up everyday excited for a new adventure on his farm and shares a little bit about his love for forestry as well as provides a bit of a background on how the surrounding area was discovered. Join Tom and Emily on this adventure as they talk with Eddie and Linda about the work they put into their beautiful property.    Key Takeaways: [1:40] Tom shares a little bit about Eddie and Linda’s farm.  [2:15] As a professional forester, how did Eddie get into forestry? [4:00] Eddie was originally going to be a dentist.  [6:35] Eddie shares how he got into tree farming and how he went about purchasing his first property. [8:45] Linda is a 50% owner and Edide is a 100% worker.  [9:00] Linda shares her first impressions of the land when they finally bought it. It was definitely runned down.  [11:05] Eddie shares a little bit about the history of forestry in Society Hill.  [18:30] The United States saw a huge boom in cotton production in 1917 to provide uniforms to WW1 soldiers.  [20:45] How has timber farming evolved over the decades?  [26:55] Eddie bought this tree farm in the late 90s/early 2000s. He had a lot of work ahead of him.  [29:45] Eddie breaks down in detail some of the beautiful trees and foliage he has on his property.  [37:35] This property is now in its 6th generation of growing trees. Eddie’s spent a lot of time to get the tree more in harmony with nature and to make it appealing to wildlife.  [40:35] Eddie shares where he sees the future of his farm headed.  [44:05] Eddie has an easement on his property. What does that mean and what lessons can he share to other land owners?  [46:45] What you leave behind is really important.    Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Scfbins.com
158: Trees Are a 50-Plus-Year-Long Term Investment that Pays Off Tom and Emily meet with legacy tree farmer Pat Dorn, based in South Carolina, to learn more about his beautiful property and how he got into the business of planting trees! You’ll hear some background noise as Tom and Emily march through the wilderness with Pat as they uncover what makes Pat’s property so special.   Key Takeaways: [1:35] You find Tom and Emily with legacy tree farm owner Pat as he does a tour of his property in South Carolina. [2:40] How did Pat get into the tree farming business? [4:50] Pat remembers fondly planting trees with his pa and how they were able to turn it into a profit. [6:00] When Pat was in his early 20s, he bought the worst land available because he knew how to work the tree programs. [6:40] After 40 years, these sub-par lands look fantastic now. Hard work pays off. [7:40] Timberland is a long term investment that requires a long term mindset. [8:40] Pat rents out his land to hunting groups, which further helps his return on investment. [10:00] So many people want to have 50 or 100 acres in the country, but they’re not willing to do the work to care for the land. [10:50] What lessons did Pat learn from his dad about the outdoors? [12:50] Pat shares a little bit about his family and his three children. [18:10] It’s important to keep your forester happy. The best money Pat has spent was on a consulting forestry company. There’s too much room for error in this business. [19:50] When you have timberland, it’s also important to have a road system on your property. It pays off when people are coming to bring equipment in to chop the timber. [22:50] Land is going to get more and more valuable in South Carolina. [24:45] What should you think about when you're about to buy land?   [27:40] Pat explains the furniture he’s made over the years that’s located in his home. [36:15] Don’t take advice from the average Joe, most of them don’t know anything! Find the most qualified expert, and then go ask them. [39:55] Pat looks at his forester like he looks at his doctor. He’s trained. He knows his stuff. [42:50] Why is it important to get into the tree business? [45:20] Pat talks about his lovely wife Jane, her love, and her support. It’s hard to get anything done without the support of your spouse!   Mentioned in This Episode: Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Scfbins.com
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