Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award
Recognizes high quality journalism that increase the American public’s understanding of forestry and natural resources.
Thirty-six years ago, Victor became the first black forester in the history of the Virginia Department of Forestry. As part of his work, he assisted with outreach efforts. This was the beginning of his education on the challenges affecting minorities within the forestry and natural resources profession, and challenges facing minority farmers and landowners.
While attending a conference he met a group of mostly African American farmers and forest landowners. After learning about their challenges and obstacles, Victor was inspired to start Minority Landowner
magazine as a national platform to elevate minority landowners and to recognize and celebrate their journeys.
As editor and publisher of Minority Landowner
magazine, established in 2005, he provides information on people, places, programs, and events that helps minority landowners improve productivity, increase profitability, and maintain ownership of their land.
Victor works with minority landowners through various partnerships to feature landowners who are engaged in resolving problems to provide a blueprint to foresters, farmers, and ranchers to follow and help landowners improve the care, management, and conservation of their land.
The initiative, leadership, minority engagement, and national partnership and outreach efforts that have characterized Victor’s career and personal passion make him a deserving award winner.
Victor’s ability to enhance relationships, inform, and strengthen minority stakeholders across the country is worthy of national recognition. – Appalachian SAF Executive CommitteeA few words from Victor Harris:
Thank you to the Society of American Foresters for selecting me as the Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award recipient for 2021. I am honored.
This is our 15th year publishing Minority Landowner
. Interestingly, I’ve never really thought of myself as a journalist. When I’m invited to speak, or when I’m being introduced, I still think of myself as a forester first. However, like journalists, foresters spend quite a bit of time telling a story.
You tell the story of the forest. How forests produce and clean the air we breathe, provide wildlife habitat, and recreation. You tell the story of tree leaves, forest litter, and roots, and how they help protect the soil, prevent erosion, and support clean water. You tell the story of the many products made of trees; how trees help fight climate change; how forests are the foundation of many local economies. You tell the story of how foresters were one of the first conservationists and environmentalists.
There is one more story I want to tell. And that is the story of the late Dr. B.D. Mayberry. Dr. Mayberry was the dean of the College of Agriculture at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in 1968 when he persuaded the US Forest Service to help establish a pre-forestry program at Tuskegee. This successful partnership made Tuskegee the first Historically Black College or University to have a forestry program. Tuskegee became the leading producer of Black foresters in the country. I am a product of that program.
There is a cash award that comes with this SAF recognition. I am donating mine to Tuskegee University to help my fellow alumni fulfill the Dr. B.D. Mayberry Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship will help students pursue and fulfill their dreams, and one day tell their own stories about life, about Mother Tuskegee, and about forestry.
To hear more from Victor Harris, watch his video here
Top Photo: Victor serves as a moderator on an agroforestry economics workshop panel.
Bottom Photo: Victor Harris providing remarks at the National Association of State Foresters annual meeting.