On August 22, 2019, Audubon Florida recognized Michael Dooner with the 2019 Sustainable Forestry Award at the Florida Forestry Association’s Annual Meeting in Miramar Beach, FL.

Dooner, a timber stands owner and consultant, went above and beyond after Hurricane Michael to revitalize timber operations in the Florida Panhandle.  Working forests are essential to Florida, both economically and ecologically. They provide environmental services ranging from water quality and quantity to helping meet the threat of our changing climate by capturing carbon. Sustainable forestry is the bedrock of the Central Panhandle’s social/community resilience.  Never was this more apparent than in the wake of Hurricane Michael, when Floridians emerged from storm shelters to find vast forest tracts laid low, along with the livelihoods of the families and the ecology that depended on them.

While he had holdings of his own to assess, salvage, and replant, Dooner worked tirelessly with agency personnel to improve recovery efforts on the ground. He helped connect forest owners with essential services, and also advocated for federal disaster relief to give a hand up to the region’s hard-hit forest economy.

“Thank you, Michael,” Audubon’s Director of Policy Beth Alvi said during the award presentation, “for helping see the Panhandle through this challenging time, and for protecting the region’s forest way of life and its economy.”

“Michael Dooner is a great example of what forestry is all about,” said Florida Forestry Association Executive Vice President Alan Shelby. “He remains focused on moving forestry forward, especially in the tough times. Michael is a forward thinker and understands the connection between forestry and the environment and economy.”

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. 

The Florida Forestry Association is a statewide trade membership association representing all facets of the forest industry.  The Association’s mission is to promote the responsible and sustainable use of Florida’s forest resources. For more information about the Association, visit FloridaForest.org.

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