2008 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year
By Chris Brown, NCFA Director of Communications
The recipient of the 2008 North Carolina Tree Farmer of the Year Award is Leo Brevard of Charlotte. He has owned his 1,000-acre Tree Farm in McDowell County for 46 years. Brevard and his wife, Eleanor, began managing their property on a sustainable basis almost immediately through a program of improvement cutting and reforestation. They became Certified Tree Farmers in 1983.
Brevard served our country as a Marine in the Pacific Theater during the Second World War and participated in many of the major amphibious landings, including Iwo Jima, where he piloted a landing craft. After the war he returned home to the U.S., earned a teaching degree and began teaching high school biology in Valdese. When the Korean War started in June, 1950, he was recalled by the Marine Corps.
As a member of the “Greatest Generation,” he not only served our country during two wars, but also taught science to high School students and served as a Sunday school teacher at his church.
He and Eleanor began acquiring forest land in the early 1960s and initiated sound forest management practices to improve the quality of their family forest. Performing much of the work himself, Mr. Brevard planted hundreds of acres of trees, both pine and hardwood, harvested them and replanted again. In addition to being a Certified Tree Farmer, Mr. Brevard is a Certified Forest Stewardship Landowner. He manages his Tree Farm for timber production, wildlife, recreation, and soil and water conservation.
He has hosted many tours of his Tree Farm, including a visit by Tree Farmers from around the country when North Carolina hosted the National Tree Farmers Convention in 2002. In the recent past, he has hosted a national group of 80 individual outdoorsmen on an annual basis for an event known as “Practice What You Preach.” This is an outdoor classroom for individuals to learn about wilderness survival and first aid in the field among others. Attendees have come from across the U.S. and from overseas as well.