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November 20, 2007

Growing into award

image_6138724.jpgDr. Slade Lail of Duluth, Ga., is the Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year.

"A lot of people would buy land, cut the trees and sell it," he said. "They'd leave it a mess, with no value for anyone. [Reforesting] helps the wildlife, and it's an investment you can harvest at a later time."

State forester Gregg Jameson, who nominated his college buddy for the award, says what Lail's achieved on weekends over the past few years is pretty impressive for an "urban absentee landowner." Especially a tireless one.

Lail travels to PlumbDent Farms — a two-hour drive southeast of Duluth, between Macon and Augusta — as many weekends as he can. He and his business partner, Billy Jones, host a number of youth groups and activities there throughout the year. They say they're increasingly sought out by other landowners for advice on stewardship.

-- ajc.com, 11/20/2007

(Photo Eileen Drennen/AJC)