Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee
Saturday, 12 May 2018 12:30

2018 Regional Inspector of the Year

Tom Martin Dan Paterson

Dan Peterson of Wisconsin Rapids was awarded the 2018 Regional Inspector of the Year at the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) National Leadership Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in February.  Dan was introduced to the ATFS in 1985 when he was assigned to help manage Consolidated Paper's Tree Farm Family program.  At that time the Tree Farm System was an industry program and his company had a landowner assistance program that provided management assistance to private landowners.  All of the landowners who enrolled their land in the CPI Tree Farm Family were provided a management plan, free forestry assistance and enrolled in the National ATFS.  Dan enrolled over 200 landowners in the ATFS during that time and the CPI Tree Farm Family grew to over 200,000 acres of forested land.  Each year Consolidated Papers hosted a Tree Farm Family Field Day where all the Members were invited.  Dan was always involved in planning and hosting the event  where the day was spent touring 3 or 4 member Tree Farms in the area where the event was being held.  It rotated back and forth between northern and central Wisconsin.  Along with the Field Day they sponsored a containerized seedling growing contest.  Each year Tree Farmers could sign up to receive a free Styrofoam seedling growing block seeded with 200 red pine.  Their challenge was to germinate the seeds, grow the seedlings, and bring them to the Tree Farm Field Day at the end of the summer where they were judged and a winner was selected. 

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In 1998 Dan was awarded the Bronze Hardhat Award for enrolling 25 Tree Farms in ATFS.  In 1989 he was awarded the Sliver Hardhat Award for enrolling 50 Tree Farms in ATFS. In 1990 he was selected as the Wisconsin Outstanding Tree Farm Inspector of the Year.  In 1997 he was awarded the Gold Hardhat Award for enrolling 100 Tree Farms in ATFS.  In 1997 he was awarded the Gold Hardhat Plus Award for enrolling 150 Tree Farms in ATFS.  From 1987 through 1995 Dan served as District 10 Chair and the Publicity Chair on the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee (WTFC).  In 2004 Dan took the inspector certification training to meet the new ATFS Certification Standards.  Dan completes 2-4 Tree Farm reinspections per year in a timely manner.  In  September 2006 he assisted with a forestry field day hosted by WTFC.  In 2007 Dan volunteered at the American Tree Farm System - National Tree Farm Convention held in Madison Wisconsin by assisting with the field tours.  In 2017 Dan was again awarded the 2017 Wisconsin Outstanding Inspector of the year.

From 1987 through 1995 Dan served as District 10 Chair and as Publicity chair on the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee.  He hosted several District 10 Tree Farm Banquets during that time recognizing County Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year (OTFY) winners and gave signs to the new enrolled Tree Farmers.  Dan began a program as District Chair for a couple of years where a local sawmill donated 4X4 posts for landowners who need Tree Farm signs.  The WTFC initiated a program to encourage inspecting foresters to publicize their OTFY winners.  As Publicity chair they sent Dan newspaper stories about their OTFY, the WTFC awarded them a coupon for 5 incentive points redeemable for $5 worth of Tree Farm items, or a gift certificate.  Many newspaper clippings were turned in during that time.  In 2008 he became a member of the WTFC as an industry representative.  Dan has served as District 11 Chair since 2014.  He was the WTFC Vice Chair from 2012-2015.  He served on the committee helping to develop the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan for the WTFC.  He is currently serving as Chair of the State Committee.  Dan was involved in the 2016 assessment as well as participating as the inspecting forester for one of the assessment sites that was selected.  In 2016 he worked with the Governor's office to develop the Governor's Proclamation and the Wisconsin State Senate Citation recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the ATFS.  He assisted with Tree Farm Field Days from 2013-2017 serving as a group leader for the field tours.  He has served as a judge in 2014--2017 helping select the State OTFY winner.  He is certified as an ATFS training facilitator and helped the Tree Farm inspector training class in May of 2016.

For the past 5 years Dan has helped with NewPage/Verso's Paper Knowledge School each October.  As part of the school, he leads groups of up to 40 people on woodland tours of active timber sale harvests, many of them on certified Wisconsin Tree Farm properties.  He demonstrates sustainable forestry practices and tells the story of environmental certification through ATFS and FSC.  The people they are reaching are mostly urbanites from large metropolitan areas who are Verso customers and buy their paper.  These people are always very encouraged to see for themselves how well our private forest landscape is managed in Wisconsin.  When the company was Stora Enso(2000-2007) they hosted groups of Swedish landowners each year where they showcased Wisconsin's forests and our forestry practices. When the company was Consolidated Papers (1985-1998), each year, Dan helped organize the CPI Tree Farm Field Day with up to 250 landowners.  They would tour well managed Tree Farm properties in a different region of the State each year.  All of the CPI Tree Farm Family members were enrolled in the American Tree Farm System program.  Dan also wrote and published a letter regarding Wisconsin  Tree Farm Committee's position on our governor's proposal to eliminate the Wisconsin Forestry's mill tax.

In 2016 Dan was honored with a Special Recognition Award for "Advancing the Mission of the School District of Marshfield, Wisconsin."  Since 1978 his company has partnered with the Marshfield School District to help them manage their 360 acre school forest.  As their forestry contact person Dan has provided forest management advice and assistance, including two management plan updates, enrolling them in ATFS as a certified Tree Farm, setting up and administering all of their timber sales since 1985 on their property, and giving forestry talks to groups of students on the school forest property. 

Dan is an associate member of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and a member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) since 1977.  He is a Certified Forester with SAF, a Cooperating Forester and a Certified Plan Writer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.  He is active in his church and has worked with the youth in the church for over 30 years leading youth groups, teaching Sunday School.  He is involved in the music ministry of his church and helps lead worship and singing on Sunday mornings.  Last January he went on a mission trip to Haiti with a group from this church where he helped lead a Men's Conference at a sister church.  He and Mari, his wife, have been married 39 years.  They have 6 children and 13 grandchildren.  Dan also enjoys gardening, playing guitar, singing choral music, hunting, making maple syrup on his son's Tree Farm and spending time with his grandchildren.

Last modified on Sunday, 12 August 2018 11:10