Three foresters with exemplary careers were recognized with the John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Award at the recent Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association annual conference.
Jack Nelson of Lizton, Lenny Farlee of Lafayette and Bob Koenig (posthumously) from Greencastle were recognized for their leadership in forestry and support for Indiana woodland owners. The award was named after former state forester John F. Datena to honor his commitment to Indiana forestry.
Jack Nelson retired after 34 years working for the Indiana DNR Division of Forestry and followed that long career with a private consulting forestry business. He has been practicing forestry for 53 years. In his role with DNR he assisted private landowners and administered the Indiana Timber Buyers Licensing and Indiana Classified Forest program. He owned a Christmas tree farm for 30 years and is active in many conservation organizations.
After a 20-year career with the IDNR Division of Forestry, Lenny Farlee pivoted to an Extension Forester role at Purdue University, where he provides science-based information on sustainable forest management to woodland owners and natural resource professionals across the Central Hardwoods region. Lenny is especially known for the “Forest Management for the Private Woodland Owner” short course he annually teaches and his series of 120+ videos on tree identification.
Bob Koenig spent his career with the Indiana DNR Division of Forestry, starting as a district forester but rising to assistant state forester, overseeing all forester training and private lands management programs for 20 years. He had a profound effect not only on the training and careers of many of the foresters in the state, but also on management of the woodlands they provided assistance to. Upon his retirement, he was honored with the Sagamore of the Wabash award (the highest award to a Hoosier) by then governor Frank O’Bannon.
Summing up the conservation ethic of all of the awardees, IFWOA executive director Liz Jackson stated, “These three honorees have devoted decades of work to the betterment of Indiana forestry, and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment. Our woodlands are better off due to their efforts.”
The awardees were selected by the Indiana Association of Consulting Foresters, Indiana Society of American Foresters, Indiana Hardwoods Lumbermen’s Association, and Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association.