Four Indiana landowners were recently recognized with the 2023 Charles Deam Forest Stewardship Award by the Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association (IFWOA). Billings Family Farms of Warren County and Allen & Peg Royer of Putnam County are state co-winners of the award. Both families have exceptional conservation ethic, managing for biodiversity, wildlife and pollinators.
The Billings installed tree and prairie borders to encourage wildlife habitat and control flooding and erosion along their river bottom farmland, and were highlighted in Farm Journal magazine for their stewardship. Three generations are active in management, a true “family affair.” The family was nominated for this award by their consulting foresters, Mike and Jennifer Boyle Warner.
The Royers spend countless hours on tree planting, managing prairies, invasive species control, and timber stand improvement to ensure they leave the property better for the next generation. They host conservation field days for other landowners and education programs for youth from elementary to college aged. The family was nominated by Sara Campfield of Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District.
Jeff and Kyla Uebelhor of Martin County were finalists for the award from central Indiana. They have done tree thinning and planting to promote oak-hickory forests while improving wildlife habitat with edge feathering and food plots.
Saint Meinrad Archabbey, with properties in Spencer and Perry Counties, were honored as a finalist from southwestern Indiana. They established conservation easements and a filter strip program along the Anderson River in addition to the thousands of trees they have planted over many decades.
The Deam award honors outstanding Indiana woodland owners who demonstrate good forest stewardship. Charles Deam, Indiana’s first state forester, was a pioneer in recognizing the need for protecting woodlands and managing our forests. Nominations for 2024 will be accepted starting in May 2024.