Annual Meeting takes on rural roads, spirits and weather

The 2018 KWOA annual meeting challenged and delighted members in many ways with flavors, weather and rural roads. The adventure started on Tuesday morning, March 20th in Frankfort with a guided tour of Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Participants gained an understanding of the complexities of the bourbon making process through history, barrel house inspections and, yes, sampling several types of bourbon mid-morning at the tourism center’s bar.

[text box]  “Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” —Quote by Johnny Carson in the Single Oak Project exhibit

In the same area is the Single Oak Project exhibit, a recently completed experiment to test the effects of barrels made from 96 oak trees selected from as many different locations as well as ages. The resulting bourbons, all aged for eight years, are on display as is a list of sites from which the oak trees were harvested.

From the distillery the road warriors traveled to Elk Creek Vineyards in Owen County.

After a pizza buffet lunch and some post-St. Patrick’s Day iridescent green wine, the group went below ground to see another type of barrel used to age wines and learn about the cultivation and processing of grapes.

With snow definitely in the forecast, the tour headed to General Butler State Park to continue the agenda with the evening award banquet.

Members met this year’s forestry student scholarship recipient, Abigail Adams (see spring newsletter issue for full article about Abby).

The association’s Outstanding Service Forester award was presented to Floyd Willis, KDF northeast region.

Dr. Greg Kuhns, tree farmer in Bullitt County, was recognized for over 20 years of service to KWOA as a board member, vice president, annual meeting chair and representation at national and regional American Tree Farm meetings.

Jack Rentz (left) and Don Girton (right) recognize Greg Kuhn’s leadership

 

A substantial snowfall graced the park during the night. Some speakers were unable to travel to the park for Wednesday’s educational program and cooperators reports. But quick technology fixes on both ends enable presentations by Skype from several of those scheduled. Members learned about limited supplies of white oak timber to meet growing demands, timber exports and invasive species and insects affecting woodland owners’ properties.

After hearing updates from the forestry division, university, conservation committee and forest industries association, members elected officers and board for the coming year. KWOA welcomes new board members Scott Taylor (central zone) and James Vincent (western zone). By the time the meeting adjourned the snow had melted and members were able to return home safely.

KWOA/F thanks the many individuals who planned and managed the annual meeting. Special appreciation goes to Doug McLaren who took the lead on organizing the site visits and program. Preparations are already underway for the 2019 meeting. We hope you will plan to attend.