Annual Meeting Update

The 2020 KWOA/F Annual meeting is just a six months away. Time flies so please mark your calendar now for March 23, 24 and 25 of 2020 at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park. The meeting is officially the 24th and 25th but because many of you will be coming in on the 23rd we have added an event for that Monday. Also, we will again be hosting the Kentucky Master Woodland Stewards (KMWS) Annual Reunion on the evening of Monday March 23rd. For those KWOA members who are also KMWS you will receive more information about that meeting from Billy Thomas, UK Forestry Extension.

We have reserved a block of rooms and reservations can be made by calling the park at 270-343-3111. The room rate is $72.95 plus tax. Be sure you tell them you are with KWOA to get that room rate.

The annual meeting committee has been working for several months now to put together what we think will be a very informational and enjoyable meeting based on the theme of recreation. You will be getting more details as we get closer to the event. Topics will include:

  • Trail Building and maintenance
  • Woodland safety and survival
  • Edible and Medicinal Plants
  • Setting up and maintaining sporting clay ranges

In addition to those topics we are also pleased to be helping Ellen Crocker (University of Kentucky’s Forest Health Extension) roll out her new “Healthy Woods” App. More information will be available on where to download the app as we get closer to the meeting date.

Check back for updates on the agenda, speakers and other planned activities.

We hope to see you there!

Your Annual Meeting Committee

Mark your calendar for the 2020 KWOA annual meeting

KWOA will continue its four-year series of American Tree Farm System themes with Recreation as the focus of its 2020 annual meeting.

It will also continue its celebration of its 25th year anniversary.

The annual meeting will convene March 24-25, 2020 at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in south central Kentucky.

Programs in planning include trail building, medicinal plants, fishing, hunting and woodland safety and survival.

Updates and registration information will be posted as it becomes available.

KWOA welcomes Dr. Lanny Copeland and COL (retired) Jimmie Sizemore to 2019 Board of Directors

Dr. Lanny Copeland is a Family Physician who practiced in rural settings in Indiana and Georgia for 20 years. He was instrumental in beginning a family medicine residency program focusing on rural healthcare, especially the underserved area of southwest Georgia. For many years he was recognized as one of the top 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in the US by Modern Healthcare, ranking #8 on this list in 2012.

Copeland’s humanitarian work has taken him to Yemen, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Haiti, and most recently to Cuba, where the foci has been on medical education and health care delivery.

After retiring from the corporate world, he and his wife Mica actively manage their 280 acres of timberland in Warren County, Kentucky.

COL (retired) Jimmie Sizemore is a very passionate, energetic and busy woodland owner. Recently retired from the United States Army Reserve and the Clay County Board of Education, he and his wife Leslie are enjoying a very active retirement. Their property in Clay County lies on the Sarvis Fork of Buzzard Creek deep in the heart of Eastern Kentucky. Here they  manage an orchard of mainly heirloom apples, keep honey bees, grow sorghum cane, black walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, paw paws and persimmons. They also enjoy tapping maple trees and spending time enjoying the natural wonders of their woodlands.

Board member Jimmie Sizemore with wife Leslie and grandson Asher

COL Sizemore is an active member of many organizations including: the Arbor Day Foundation, American Chestnut Foundation, the American Tree Farm System, Disabled American Veterans, North American Pawpaw Growers Association, the Great Smokey Mountains Association, Kentucky Maple Syrup Association, Kentucky State Bee Keepers Association, Kentucky Queen Bee Breeders Association, the Midwest Apple Improvement Association and the National Wild Turkey Federation. When they aren’t busy working their farm or managing their woodlands they enjoy volunteering at their church or traveling and spending time with their five daughters and grandchildren.

Jimmie and Leslie will be hosting the August 24 Woodland Owners Short Course at their tree farm.

GOAP strives to assist agriculture enterprises in becoming self-sustaining

Warren Beeler, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, informed members that poultry is the number two industry after forestry in Kentucky. Consequently, GOAP is prioritizing loans to farmers ages 19-26 who want to get into the poultry business.

Warren Beeler, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy, discusses the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund with meeting participants. Photo by Greg Kuhns

Beeler said he is also looking to invest beyond the traditional crops and utilizes the Kentucky Agricultural Finance Corporation that supports higher risk loans. Its mission is to strengthen Kentucky agriculture by providing access to low-interest loan programs through joint partnerships with local lending institutions. KAFC assists beginning farmers, farm families, and agribusinesses obtain the necessary capital to establish, maintain or expand their agricultural operation.

As agriculture becomes more technologically sophisticated the program seeks to support investments in equipment such as robotic dairy milkers and computer tags for dairy cows. The programs also supports water quality monitoring on the Ohio, Kentucky and Wabash Rivers for nutrients, a mentoring program for queen beekeepers and sheep and goat operations that could be compatible with woodlands.

Beeler stressed that the GOAP Board is interested in capital projects, not in paying people not to farm. Its assistance is seed money with the expectation that the enterprise will use those funds to become self-maintaining. He mentioned

Beeler queried members for ideas that should be included in the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund that would assist woodlands.

Members were not shy in responding. Suggestions included incubator tree farms (Beeler thought demonstration farms would qualify), easements that would remove development rights to keep properties in woodlands, and cooperation with related agriculture industries. Beeler opined that KWOA needs a state-level executive position.

UK Forestry students share enthusiasm and intentions

For Michael Branscum, the best part about being a forestry student is marking timber and the Fire Cats. For Dan Eaton it is the small class size and the friendships among students and with professors.  Sarah Hays’ experience with a forest inventory in Robinson Forest made a believer out of her that switched from an engineering major to forestry. The three students attended sessions and spoke at the KWOA 2019 annual meeting as part of their education the University of Kentucky’s Forestry Extension.

UK Forestry students Sarah Hays, Michael Branscum and Dan Eaton describe life in the forestry curriculum. Photo by Billy Thomas


All three students have a good idea of what they want to do post-grad. Branscum hopes to work in urban forestry or in timber purchase and sales. Eaton wants to pursue an MBA and then work to increase the economic value of forests and incentives to keep property in forests. Hays is working with the Extension team to develop the newly formed Forest Health Center.

Kentucky Senator Robby Mills connects counties, clean water and forests

“We have to teach the next generation how to work.” Kentucky Senator Robby Mills advised attendees at KWOA’s 2019 annual meeting with the additional comment that government should be about resolving problems and filling gaps.

Senator Mills, who is Vice Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, launched into the meeting’s theme of Clean Water and Forest Management by noting the lack of investment in water and waste water infrastructure. He said Martin County loses 64% of its treated water between the water treatment plant and homes because of leaks.

Mills recognized the role of trees as natural barriers to sediment and water run-off as well as water purifiers. He highlighted the Audubon Wetlands in Henderson County.



It consists of 649 acres that was added to the 724-acre John James Audubon State Park.  Over 400 acres have been reforested there.

State of the Watersheds

Amanda Gumbert, UK Extension, Water Quality, spoke to members about the monitoring system in place for Kentucky’s watersheds.

Amanda Gumbert, UK Extension Water Quality instructor, discusses habitat and riparian issues with participants. Photo by Ward Wilson, Kentucky Water Alliance

Members joined Amanda streamside to observe and draw their concept of a typical riparian habitat.

If it’s on the ground, it’s in our water.

.01% of earth’s water is drinking water.





Kentucky has seven river basins and 90,000 miles of rivers and streams. Gumbert introduced members to the Kentucky Water Health Portal.

Kentucky Water Health Portal

Streams and lakes all have designated uses and are coded in the portal as to which of those uses they support, such as aquatic life, swimming, fishing or drinking.

Gumbert left attendees with three to-do items:

  1. Learn about your watershed/stream.
  2. Develop and implement a Kentucky Agriculture Water Quality Plan [hot link]
  3. Enjoy Kentucky’s water resources.
Participants in streamside habitat and riparian issues proudly display their drawing of a typical meandering stream. Photo by Greg Kuhns

Management of the Pennyrile State Forest

Jim Bryan, Kentucky Division of Forestry, provided some background on Pennyrile State Forest. The state owns and manages ten forests. The state bought these forests between 1932 and 1939, resettling the people who lived there. Pennyrile Park opened in 1937.

In 1930, as part of the Land Use and Resettlement Program, the Division of Forestry acquired leases on land in Christian, Hopkins and Caldwell counties, which became the Pennyrile State Forest. It now includes 14,648 acres of forest. These leases were sustained until 1954, when the property was deeded (with certain reservations) by the U.S. government to the Commonwealth.

An invasion by pine beetles prompted clear-cutting of conifers in the 1970’s and conversion to hardwoods. However, Virginia pines soon re-established in the forest. A program of helicopter spraying and “hack and squirt” successfully removed the pines. Money from timber harvests goes to KDF.