Forest Conservationists of the Year
Tom and Leslyn Jacobs
Tom and Leslyn Jacobs have been awarded the 2020 Forest Conservationists of the Year for Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. As husband and wife, parents and as foresters; Tom & Leslyn Jacobs have sustainably managed their properties (Tree Farms) since their first purchase in 1984. They have included their family, friends, neighbors and other forest landowners when taking care of their Tree Farms and also when it comes to enjoying the wildlife, forest habitats and recreation. They were recognized in 2018 as Wisconsin’s Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year and hosted a field day on their property in 2019 with over a hundred people present.
Tom & Leslyn started their own forestry consultant business in the early 1980’s mainly because other private forest landowners “liked” the way they managed their lands. Tom & Leslyn enjoy helping others in practicing Sustainable Forestry. Tom & Leslyn’s business “Trees & Trails Forestry Consultants, LLC” has assisted over 1,500 Family Forest Landowners throughout NE Wisconsin. Many of their “repeat” customers have become “good friends”.
Tom & Leslyn are very much involved in organizations that promote Forestry Education to Family Forest Landowners and the Public and also are active members of the Tree Farm Program (State Wide & Nationally), Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association & Society of American Foresters. Also, Tom and especially Leslyn, support and volunteer for their church and “Camp Daniel” a residency for people with disabilities.
By being “good stewards” of the land and with “good forest management”; Tom & Leslyn generated more wood and at the same time they have been enjoying the outdoor recreation.
Tom & Leslyn have also harvested and sawed their own wood for a hunting cabin; that they share with their family and friends so they can all enjoy and experience and learn more about the outdoors and good forestry.
Tom has been a member of the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee since 1988, a tree farm inspector, past chair of the committee and presently the Treasurer. Tom & Leslyn are members of WWOA and the Phoenix Falls Chapter of WWOA and participate in many WWOA Field Days and Annual Conventions as well as hosting events on their property. Tom is a WWOA Board of Director from Fall of 2016 to present. Tom represented WWOA as a Director of Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. Tom was appointed Member of Wisconsin Marinette County Deer Advisory Committee (CDAC) since 2014 as their Forestry Representative. Tom & Leslyn are participating in the WDNR “Snapshot Wisconsin” since summer of income by “harvesting sustainably”, improved the wildlife habitat, protected the water quality, grew 2017. Leslyn and Tom are both members of the Society of American Foresters since graduating from UW-Stevens Point as Foresters. Tom serves on the Wisconsin SAF Forestry Hall of Fame Committee since 2014. First as a representative of the Forest History Association and since 2016 as a representative of the Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee. They have hosted many field days on the property over the years.
They completed 23 Commercial Harvests and 1 salvage harvest since 1984 with a total of 1,222 cords and 218,630 Total Board Feet. They Cut over 7 full cords of firewood every year for personal use at home and cabin. They planted over 20,000 seedlings (10,000 by hand and 10,000 by machine planter). To “lessen the chance” of the spread of “Oak Wilt and Root & Butt Rot (Heterobasidiom annosium); timber harvests were completed in months that the Wis. Department of Natural Resources suggested. Oak Wilt (No cutting from April 15-July 15). Root & Butt Rot (No cutting from March 1 – December 1 or must spray fresh cut stumps with proper fungicide. Spent “Days” searching and disposing Gypsy Moth Egg Mases from our Oak/Aspen stands. Harvested black spruce stands that were infected with Dwarf Mistletoe to stop the spread. Annual Control of invasive plant species by physically removing or using the proper herbicide for: Knapweed, Autumn Olive and Buck Thorn. Have designated “Old Growth stands” of Hemlock/North Hardwoods, White Pine, White Cedar & Black Spruce that will not be harvested. To protect individual “Wood Turtles” (T&E species) & Blanding Turtle (Species of Concern) and their habitat; wood harvests are done in “Frozen Ground Conditions or 300 meters from a stream.
There are over 40 acres of wildlife openings on the Tree Farms that are maintained. Prior to any timber harvesting activity: (No logging has taken place when active dens or nests are present with T&E Species.) Den trees are identified “to leave” that may benefit: Squirrels (Gray, Red, Fox, Flying), Screech Owls, Wood ducks, Kestrels, raccoon, pine martens, bobcats, fishers, etc. Nesting trees are identified “to leave” that may be used by: Bald Eagles, Goshawks, Coopers Hawks, Sharp-shined hawks, Broad-winged hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Great-horned owls, Barred owls, etc. A female Kirtland Warbler (T&E species) was identified in a young jack pine stand on the Waupee-Pines. An active Black Bear Den was identified on the “Moonshine Tree Farm”. No logging will take place near the den until the bear has moved out in the spring. The condition of the den will not be damaged so encourage to use every year. Assorted Wildlife seen on the properties: Deer, Black Bear, Bobcats, Coyote, Wolves, Fishers, Badgers, Mink, Racoon, Porky pine, Skunks, Opossum, Ermine, Flying Squirrel, Gray/Red/Fox Squirrels, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Goshawk, Coopers Hawk, Kestrel Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Ravens, Crows, Broad-Winged Hawk, Kirtland Warbler, Gross-beaks, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Ruffed Grouse, Woodcock, Morning Doves, Blue-Jays, Cardinals, and many song-birds. Every year annual Bird Hunts, Deer Camp, Fishing Camp and Cross-Country Ski Outings are held at the cabin with Family members and friends. Promote Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock Habitat by harvesting aspen to pro-mote young forests along with seeding roads and walking trails with the “Tom Jacobs Mix” that includes white, red and ladino clover that is preferred by the Ruffed Grouse. Schedule two Annual Bird Hunts; inviting family and friends. Pro-mote White-Tail Deer habitat by harvesting aspen areas, leaving Mast Trees (White and Red oak). Control the deer population by inviting Family & Friends to hunt with bow, cross-bow, black powder and rifle. Also provide “Hunting Leases” on areas that need the deer population controlled to allow for natural regeneration of the forest for trees and plants. Bear Harvest permits are requested every year. One bear was harvested in 2018. Many bear on the properties. Turkey hunting is allowed by request. Many turkeys on the properties. Concern is that the turkeys search out and eat many forest reptile species such as woods frogs, leopard frog and salamanders. Majority of White Cedar Stands will not be harvested for “Thermo-Cover” and Bedding Areas for deer.
There are over 30 miles of roads and trail. All trails are mowed annually with periodic maintenance and seeding. Over 1 mile of Trout Streams are present on the Waupee Pines, Cole Creek and Point Buck Tree Farms. These streams are very clean and protected on the properties.
They are truly stewards of the land looking at the whole picture and ensuring sound forest management is conducted in all aspects of what they do. They truly deserve to be awarded the Forest Conservationist(s) of the Year.