Page 25 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2019
P. 25

We are pole, piling, and mulch manufacturers, focusing on procuring wood and buying timber.
Gary Strickland, Owner
(912) 632-2800
P.O. Box 763 • Alma, GA 31510
   which owns and manages the historic mixed-use building along the BeltLine, have been instrumental in bringing the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF), the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) to some of the market events. They’ve shown GFF’s virtual reality platform, held meet-and-greets with GFC rangers and provided hands-on experiences with animals through CNC.
“When people are coming into this building for the Farmers Market or to shop or eat, they may come across an opossum or gopher tortoise or even Smokey Bear and say, ‘What’s up with that?’” Harris said. “And so they want to go over and see it, and we can inter- act with them and tell them our story and how working forests provide wild- life habitats and many other things that positively impact our lives.”
“Most of these people have never planted a tree,” he continued. “Many of them have probably never seen a gopher tortoise. They might not get away from the city very often. So, it’s a unique opportunity to touch those people and bring that education to them.”
Harris also had the good fortune a couple of years ago at Ponce City Market to share the timber story with over 21 metro Atlanta Representatives from the General Assembly led by Stacey Abrams. “We discussed the benefits of Georgia being the number one state for forestry in the country and the good we do for the environment,” he said. Harris touted how important these relationships are so that all Georgians appreciate the value of our industry.
Harris sees opportunities to change people’s perceptions about working forests in our everyday lives. “We can’t expect everyone to make it into the forests. We have to engage them where they are,” he said. “I think it’s easier to learn how to speak a little bit of some- body else’s language than to try to teach them yours. It shows a lot of faith if you’re demonstrating that you care about what they do and can bring it into their terms of language. I find once people hear our story, they become receptive and bonds can be formed.” 
1) United States Department of Agriculture. “Georgia – Rural Definitions: State-Level Maps.” 2) World Population Review. “Atlanta, Georgia Population 2019.” 3) Habersham, Raisa and Jennifer Peebles. “Census: Metro Atlanta has 4th-fastest growing population in nation,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 18, 2019.
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