Rhett Johnson Ltr-Johnson Award
In Memory of Jerry Johnson*
By: Rhett Johnson, Director, Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center, Auburn
Many of us began 2004 on a sad note with the news of the death of a valued
friend and colleague, Jerry Johnson, on the last day of 2003. Jerry was the
consummate professional forester, epitomizing everything our profession aspires
to. He had a long career as the staff forester for NRCS in Alabama and, as such,
played a role in the management of thousands of acres of private lands in the
Jerry was active in professional forestry and wildlife organizations and was
recognized for his quiet leadership on many occasions. Notably, Jerry was on the
original committee that conceived and administered the TREASURE Forest program
and continued to serve on that committee through its various re-inventions until
his health no longer allowed, a period of nearly 26 years. Throughout this
entire time, Jerry worked diligently to guard the integrity of that program,
keeping it true to its origins as a program to recognize excellence in forest
Jerry was a long time member and strong supporter of the Society of American
Foresters at several levels. He was recognized for his efforts with induction
into the Alabama Foresters Hall of Fame in 2001. Jerry also received the
Governor's Award as the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Soil Conservationist of
the Year in 2000. In recognition of his role as a strong advocate of landowner's
rights and the good stewardship of private land, Jerry received the Bill Moody
Award from the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association in 1998.
Recounting his achievements, awards, and honors is not sufficient to describe
Jerry's contributions to the world around him. He was a proud holder of Alabama
Registered Forester Number 681 and represented the profession in an excellent
fashion in both his personal and professional life.
He was devoted to his family and his church and lived his life accordingly.
Those of us who were lucky enough to call him a friend know that we are unlikely
to have a better one. A true gentleman in every sense of the word, Jerry
empathized with our misfortunes, offered his assistance without hesitation, and
always managed to see the silver lining in every cloud.
Jerry received his forestry degree at Auburn in 1970 and remained a proud
supporter and contributor to the school throughout his professional life.
* (memorial printed in the Board of Registered Foresters’ Newsletter)