99 episodes

The Leadership Nature Podcast features one-on-one interviews with diverse leaders from across the forestry and natural resources nation, and it is intended to spread the seeds of leadership insights, lessons learned and personal advice from experienced leaders to current and future generations of natural resource leaders. Each episode also includes a leadership tip of the week from the interviewer.

The Leadership Nature Podcast Tom Davidson

    • Business
    • 4.7 • 9 Ratings

The Leadership Nature Podcast features one-on-one interviews with diverse leaders from across the forestry and natural resources nation, and it is intended to spread the seeds of leadership insights, lessons learned and personal advice from experienced leaders to current and future generations of natural resource leaders. Each episode also includes a leadership tip of the week from the interviewer.

    Tap Into Your Local Resources. The Forestry Commission is a Wealth of Knowledge

    Tap Into Your Local Resources. The Forestry Commission is a Wealth of Knowledge

    Wallace Wood has been an active member of the McCormick County, SC community for over 38 years. He served as the Executive Director of the Upper Savannah Land Trust for six years and has been on the board of directors several times since the organization began in 2000. In 2011, he was named South Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year.
    Wallace walks both Tom and Emily through his farm and provides an American history lesson, as well as a personal lesson, on how the property has developed over the years and what it has meant to his family.
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [4:35] How did Wallace get started in tree farming?
    [7:10] What did the farm look like when Wallace got his hands on it vs. what does it look like now?
    [9:25] Wallace’s father struggled financially early on and many people wanted to buy this land, but he would not budge.
    [13:10] Wallace shares a fun story of what he and his family would do on Christmas Eve on the farm.
    [16:10] Wallace talks about the Master Tree Farm program and how it’s helped him and his farm grow.
    [16:55] What’s it like being nominated Master Tree Farmer of the year?
    [19:20] What is a conservation easement and who should consider getting it?
    [23:20] One of the largest gold mines was developed here, and this was before the Civil War.
    [28:45] Wallace is very proud of his property and the vast diversity of God’s creation. He is passionate about sharing everything he’s learned with others.
    [29:10] What advice does Wallace have for landowners?
    [32:20] Wallace is so grateful and blessed he doesn’t see any city lights anywhere near his property.
    [35:25] We don’t know what the future holds, so it’s important that you have some flexibility with your land use.
    [39:30] Wallace’s motto is to leave the land better than when you’ve found it.
    [42:20] The biggest hurdle Wallace and his team have found within the Master Tree Farm program is helping other tree farmers go through a tree management plan.
    [44:55] Wallace is so passionate about the outdoors because during his childhood he was sick in bed for nine months. After that experience, he never wanted to be stuck indoors ever again.
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org
    State.sc.us
    Scforestry.org
    Americanforests.org

    • 47 min
    You’re looking at a Tree Farmer’s dream

    You’re looking at a Tree Farmer’s dream

    Walt McPhail, Brother Bill, and Dr. George Kessler (from a previous episode!) join Tom and Emily to discuss Walt’s farm. Walt and his ancestors have managed to keep the property within the family tree for a long, long time. He shares how he always knew he wanted to be a forester, why he’s been “retired” for nearly his entire career, and so much more, in this week’s episode!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [1:35] Before we hear from Walt, we first hear from Brother Bill on what he’s learned from Walt.
    [3:45] If you ever get a chance to work with Walt, do it.
    [4:45] Walt did the master tree farm course in the early ’90s.
    [6:35] Building a legacy is very important to Walt and he made it a priority to take his children along with him to show them what he was doing.
    [8:20] Walt’s girls were hesitant to take on the property, they would not sell it, but they had no idea how they were going to manage it when Dad’s gone. Walt came up with a solution.
    [11:50] How do you best manage tree poles?
    [15:55] How did Walt get into planting tree poles?
    [20:35] What’s Walt’s favorite spot on his property?
    [24:50] How do you determine what is a pole?
    [34:35] Walt talks about his family lineage and how they first came to America.
    [38:00] Walt always knew he wanted to be a forester, but he got into veterinary school to fund his forestry habit.
    [42:05] What lessons has Walt learned over the years?
    [45:00] What’s the best way to manage a tree farm? Brother Bill offers some advice.
    [48:50] What are the men most proud of in their career?
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org
    State.sc.us
    Scforestry.org
    Americanforests.org

    • 52 min
    The Master Tree Farmer Program and Its Impact on the Younger Generations

    The Master Tree Farmer Program and Its Impact on the Younger Generations

    Dr. George Kessler is a Certified Tree Farmer and a Registered Forester. Dr. George is a recognized treasure in South Carolina for his extensive work in the tree farm community. He has dedicated his most of his career to extension forestry and has created millions of acres of healthy forests. Find out about Dr. George and his journey into forestry, his impact on the South Carolina community, and so much more! 
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [4:10] A little bit about Dr. George and his family.
    [8:25] Dr. George knew he wanted to be a forester in highschool.
    [11:35] How did Dr. George get started in forestry? 
    [13:00] What is Dr. George most proud of in his career so far? 
    [18:20] Land owners were eager to take any sort of forestry education they could get their hands on. 
    [21:45] Dr. George shares how he got children involved and excited about learning more about the environment. It was a slow start at first.
    [26:50] Dr. George is involved in a Christmas tree farm. He explains what that means. 
    [30:00] How did the tree farm program get started in South Carolina? 
    [33:30] Dr. George has created a beautiful community of tree farmers in South Carolina. 
    [35:45] How did Dr. George and his committee finance the South Carolina Tree Farm Program? 
    [37:00] Dr. George and his team are proud to announce that they have about 600,000 acres of actively managed tree farms in the program! 
    [39:00] What does Dr. George see for the future when it comes to the South Carolina Tree Farm Program? 
    [42:00] We hear a fun story about Dr. George and how he approaches tree farming. He can be stubborn as a mule! 
    [44:40] What legacy would Dr. George like to leave behind?
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org
    State.sc.us
    Scforestry.org
    Americanforests.org

    • 47 min
    We Don't Take Away without Rebuilding

    We Don't Take Away without Rebuilding

    Skeet and Gayle Burris are proud owners of Cypress Bay Plantation, a 2500+ acre farm and is nationally recognized for exceptional forestry, wildlife management and conservation. Skeet and Gayle share what it was like working on the farm in the very early days when it was an undeveloped 95-acre property. Lean in as Skeet and Gayle talk about how their vision back in 1986 has come true, and how they plan to keep the family legacy alive. 
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:00] How did Skeet get his start in tree farming? 
    [6:00] Gayle shares her version of the story on how the family got involved in tree farming. 
    [7:25] Feeding four boys during the very early days was not easy, but Gayle believed in Skeet. 
    [10:50] Skeet shares how he came up with his big picture vision for the farm.
    [16:25] Skeet was fortunate that he purchased abandoned and exhausted land and, over time, built it into something. 
    [17:40] How did Skeet get tree farm certified? 
    [19:40] What does tree farming mean to Skeet? 
    [22:15] Skeet’s vision came true. What’s his vision going forward in 2021 and beyond? 
    [24:35] Skeet and his family have made an active effort to support conservation efforts on their farm and it’s paid off! 
    [26:45] Gayle realized in the early days that the boys had a negative association with the farm because it meant ‘hard work’. So she worked on creating long-lasting traditions and positive memories with the whole family and friends in the community. Now, whenever her boys come, they’re proud to show their children what they’ve built. 
    [31:25] As Skeet was building up the farm, Gayle realized she also needed a niche and decided to get into photography. 
    [34:15] How did the name Cypress Bay come about? 
    [35:40] Skeet talks a little bit about his love for South Carolina. 
    [43:00] What words of wisdom and tips does Skeet  and Gayle have for fellow tree farmers? 
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org
    State.sc.us
    Scforestry.org
    Americanforests.org
    Cypressbayplantation.com

    • 47 min
    The Call of the Bobwhite Is Now a Normal Thing

    The Call of the Bobwhite Is Now a Normal Thing

    John Spearman is a retired Colonel for the US Army and the President of Deer Hill, an award winning tree farming operation. John has been part of this farm since 1977 and shares a little bit about its rich history, the family legacy he is building with his farm, and just his love for being outdoors. John and his family have been able to create alternative income sources on his property that go beyond timber and trees! 
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:10] Colonel John introduces his son, Von, who is a forester! 
    [5:50] Both Colonel John and Von describe their land and some of it’s important historical landmarks.
    [11:00] How did Colonel John find his property and purchase it? 
    [14:10] Colonel John proposed the idea to his father-in-law to plant pine trees on the property.
    [15:45] Colonel John was working two jobs, one for the military and one on his farm. He was a younger man back then and could do that kind of work. 
    [20:00] When Colonel John’s father in law passed away, his father took on the role of managing the farm in Colonel John’s absence. 
    [21:25] When Colonel John received the district tree farm award, he wondered why they didn’t receive the state tree farm award. 
    [22:15] How do you properly market the timber on a tree farm? Colonel John got creative. 
    [25:25] By preparing Colonel John’s thesis, it gave him a long-term plan and it deeply rooted himself in his business.
    [26:45] Do quail and turkey flourish in a pine plantation? 
    [29:10] What research projects is Colonel John currently involved in and what has he learned thus far? 
    [30:35] Von explains what ‘trashy farming’ looks like. 
    [32:45] Von shares what kind of things he’s planted on the farm thus far. 
    [35:05] Colonel John provides a bit of backstory to the watershed and it’s importance to making this whole ecosystem work. 
    [36:00] Von shares how they make money off of their tree farm, and it’s not just from the trees! 
    [37:30] Colonel John shares his plans for the future and what he hopes to achieve with the farm. 
    [40:10] It’s Colonel John’s duty to leave the land in a better condition than when he started. 
    [40:40] How does Colonel John plan to pass on the tree farming business to his children? 
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Americanforests.org

    • 47 min
    Land is More than Finances; It’s Your Culture and Heritage

    Land is More than Finances; It’s Your Culture and Heritage

    Annie Ruth Jones is a three-generation landowner and has successfully used her land to plant and sell trees. Her grandparents bought the land she is currently standing on in 1935 and she is very proud that she has kept the family legacy alive all these years later. She also credits the Center of Heirs Property for helping guide her to find the right resources to make a living out of her land. Find out more about Annie and her property in this week’s episode!
     
    Key Takeaways:
    [2:15] Annie shares a little bit about her land and her family.
    [4:25] Annie shares her family tree and how she came to inherit her property.
    [9:25] Annie’s father stressed the importance that everyone in his family finish high school.
    [11:00] Annie talks about her father and what kind of man he is.
    [12:00] Hold on to the land because they’re not making any more of it.
    [13:40] A quick introduction to Kenneth Dunn and what he does for the Center of Heirs Property.
    [17:45] Annie cannot stand the tree frogs!
    [24:00] Annie does a tour of her property and talks about why she loves a particular tree.
    [27:45] As a black family, trying to hold onto property is very expensive. This is why Annie loves resources provided by Kenneth Dunn and others.
    [31:05] Annie made a promise to herself that she would not sell her land.
    [32:55] Annie feels so blessed to have been able to keep the property in her family name thus far.
    [34:15] It’s up to the younger generation now to see if they want to keep up tree farming.
    [34:40] Kenneth explains some of the challenges African-American landowners have when it comes to keeping their land.
    [38:20] Without Heirs Property help, landowners really can get taken advantage of.
    [41:25] Annie shares how the family makes a decision together when it comes to their property.
    [42:50] What do you need to do to become a certified tree farmer?
     
    Mentioned in This Episode:
    Sctreefarm.org State.sc.us Scforestry.org Heirsproperty.org Kenneth on LinkedIn

    • 46 min

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