Honorary Membership Award
The Honorary Membership Award recognizes individuals whose contributions to forestry are viewed as outstanding by their peers.
Watch this video to hear a few words from Leavell.
Chuck Leavell is a world-renowned musician who has been heard on works with Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, The Black Crowes, George Harrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Indigo Girls, Blues Traveler, Train, Montgomery-Gentry, Lee Ann Womack and many, many more. He thoughtfully uses his platform to highlight his love of forests and his time as a tree farmer in Georgia. Leavell promotes the importance of forests and forest management across the country and the world.
In 2020, he starred in the cinematic documentary, "Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man
," a film about his passion for music, forests, and family.
In 2001, Leavell penned “Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest.” This book is now in its second printing in the US and has been translated and released in Germany and Austria. Today, Leavell plays a strong role in environmental issues in the US and beyond. His name is well known on Capitol Hill for his advocacy work where he has played a solid role in forming the forest component of the past three US Farm Bills.
Leavell has hosted ten episodes of the TV series, “America's Forests with Chuck Leavell” for PBS. The series covers a wide range of forestry issues and engages conservation, government agencies, and timber industry representatives. The show has become widely known for showcasing a wide spectrum of the forest sector on various PBS stations.
Leavell has long shown a commitment to understanding forest management practices, engaging policymakers to support our nation’s forests, and using his platform to communicate the critical benefits and pressing challenges of our forests. The Honorary Membership now makes Leavell a lifetime member of SAF.
“Chuck Leavell has had and continues to have tremendous national and international impact for the advancement of healthy working forests. He is an incredible asset to our profession. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of being honorary SAF member.” – Vicki Christiansen, Retired Chief, United States Forest ServiceA few words from Chuck Leavell:
I have always felt a personal connection to trees and forests. To begin with, where does that thing that has given me such a great career in music and such joy all my life come from? The piano that I play, and most all musical instruments that we love, contain some element of wood in them. That gives me somewhat of a spiritual connection to the resource of wood. But more than that, I’ve always loved the Ralph Waldo Emmerson quote that “In the woods, we return to reason and faith"—another spiritual connection.
I have such high regard and respect for those that work in the woods, keeping our trees and forests healthy, and therefore giving us all the wonderful, incredible things that wood provides us with—materials to make books, magazines, newspapers, and packaging products; materials to build our homes, schools, churches, and offices; clean air and clean water; home and shelter to all manner of wildlife; and, yes, my piano and all those wonderful musical instruments.
To receive an Honorary Membership in the SAF is flattering and humbling and gives me the inspiration to continue my passion and advocacy for the health and care of our forests in our country and all over the world.