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UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation celebrates 75th anniversary

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation will mark its 75th anniversary and celebrate its achievements with a weekend of activities March 23-24.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said the SFRC’s contributions to Florida’s economy and environment have been monumental.

“Florida’s quality of life is completely intertwined with its natural resources, and forests not only provide the basis for our lumber and pulpwood industries, they also produce oxygen, filter water and provide wildlife habitat,” Payne said. “For three-quarters of a century, the SFRC has been working to keep our forests healthy and productive. They have more than succeeded.”

Alumni, friends and supporters of SFRC programs in forest resources, natural resources, geomatics and fisheries and aquatic sciences are invited to attend the celebration, said Tim White, director of the SFRC, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. For a schedule of events, visit http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/spring_celebration/events.html

“We’re very proud of our students, our graduates, our faculty and of their work supporting the sustainable development, utilization and conservation of our natural resources,” White said. “This event gives us a chance to reconnect with everyone who’s played a role in the SFRC’s success.”

The event will also serve as the school’s inaugural annual Spring Celebration, White said.

“The last time we had a major event commemorating the SFRC’s history was 15 years ago, and we’ve decided that’s a bit too long to wait for the next one,” said White, who’s been director since 2003 and a faculty member since 1985.

Events at the 75th anniversary celebration include a graduate student symposium, canoe/kayak trip, trap and skeet shoot, five kilometer forest run, golf tournament, skills competition and a combination barbecue and awards ceremony honoring students and alumni. The weekend concludes with a bonfire and square dance.

The SFRC was founded May 29, 1937, when Gov. Fred Cone signed a bill passed by the Florida Legislature, appropriating $25,000 to establish a forestry school in UF’s College of Agriculture and hire six faculty members.

For two years prior to 1937, UF had hosted a forestry department with Harold Newins as its only faculty member. Newins had demonstrated the need for a broader program, so when the SFRC was established, he became its first director.

Today, the school has nearly 150 faculty and staff members, 150 undergraduate students and 120 graduate students, and programs spanning forest resources, fisheries, surveying, spatial analysis and aquatic sciences.

In research, SFRC faculty members generate $8 million in grant funding, which is equivalent to one dollar in grant money for every dollar of state funding they receive. These funds are used to make new discoveries that sustain our natural resources.

In teaching, the SFRC awards undergraduate and graduate degrees to students on the Gainesville campus and also at research and education centers at Apopka, Fort Lauderdale, Milton and Plant City. Three new online master’s degree programs aimed at professionals in forest resources, geomatics, and fisheries and aquatic sciences.

Extension and outreach programs at the school include youth education programs, workshops for owners and managers of natural resources, and educational materials for policymakers and planners.

Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Source: Tim White, 352-846-0850, tlwhite@ufl.edu