For Immediate Release – August 30, 2018
Contact: Sean Cooley, Communications Manager, (850) 999-1030, firstname.lastname@example.org
FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Today, Audubon Florida recognized Jeff Vowell with its 2018 Sustainable Forestry Award for his work to improve the management of Florida’s working forests to benefit wetlands and wildlife. His dedication has helped lead to the establishment and implementation of silvicultural best management practices (BMPs) for water and wildlife. Vowell serves as the assistant director of the Florida Forest Service and previously served as a hydrologist for the State of Florida.
“Jeff understands the vulnerability of Florida’s water and wildlife and the potential of working forests to protect these resources,” said Julie Wraithmell, executive director of Audubon Florida. “Through his implementation of best management practices, he’s helped this important Florida industry be even more sustainable—financially and ecologically. Floridians are lucky to have Jeff working to protect our working forests, water, and wildlife.”
With Vowell’s leadership, Florida now enjoys comprehensive water quality BMPs with impressive implementation rates. Vowell partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to test the effectiveness of the water quality BMPs—demonstrating their effectiveness when implemented properly.
Florida is also the first state in the nation to develop silvicultural BMPs for wildlife—a process led successfully by Vowell. To date, more than 3.5 million acres of forestland have been enrolled in Florida’s wildlife BMP program.
“Jeff has been instrumental in leading BMP development in Florida and protecting our water quality for all to use and enjoy,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service.
Audubon Florida’s Sustainable Forestry Award is presented annually to a forester, forestry family, or forest business that demonstrates improvements in bird and wildlife habitats and water resources through forest management practices. A selection committee comprised of members of Audubon Florida and the Florida Forestry Association review nominations submitted from across the state for the annual award.
Audubon Florida Executive Director Julie Wraithmell presented the award this morning during the annual meeting of the Florida Forestry Association on Amelia Island.