As we ring in 2023, I know many of our team members are enjoying some well-deserved time away, relaxing with family and friends. Corporately, we are taking a look back at 2022 and preparing for new initiatives that will deliver value to Georgia and its forestry community.
2022 has been an incredible year at the Georgia Forestry Commission! We have stretched to meet many of our goals. Below are just a few highlights from the year:
- Reaffirmed our commitment to the safety of every employee by launching the statewide GFC safety campaign, ‘Safety is our Anchorpoint’.
- While not always a quick and easy initiative, we know providing workplace efficiencies for our employees is critical. We have successfully begun improving processes and reducing non-essential tasks and reporting.
- In August, we invested strategic resources to address one of our greatest challenges –the retention of wildland firefighters – by instituting a new six-year career ladder pathway for wildland firefighters.
- We have worked to position Georgia as a leader in the nation by developing a carbon accounting registry for buildings constructed using sustainable building materials in lieu of traditional materials, such as concrete and steel.
- Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Mark Wiles received the USFS Silver Smokey Bear Award. The Smokey is an honor given to organizations or individuals for outstanding regional wildfire prevention service over at least a two-year period.
- GFC received the National Woodland Owners Associations’ 2022 Outstanding Forestry Legislation Award for developing HB897, which created the timber harvest notification website standardizing the process statewide.
Nothing is achieved without focus and commitment. I would like to acknowledge and thank our employees for the energy, effort, and resolve each of you bring to the agency every day. I am thankful for your persistent commitment to excellent customer service, striving to reach a positive outcome for all we serve.
In 2023, we will be focusing on additional relevant opportunities to promote, grow, and protect Georgia’s greatest natural resource – its forests. This is our focus because Georgians are passionate about being the #1 forestry state in the nation. It is an honor for our agency to do our part to keep Georgia #1!
I want to close by thanking our clients, stakeholders, partners, and employees for your unwavering trust in our agency. Your support is the fuel that enables us to provide the important services our state and its forestry community need. This trust and support motivates us to continue to be better…the best is yet to come!
Wishing you a safe, healthy and abundant 2023!