"Longleafers" came from far and wide to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative at the memorable reception hosted by the Longleaf Partnership Council recently in Atlanta. USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman kicked off the evening by underscoring the favorable attention America's Longleaf has earned at teh national level, inlcuiding within the President's America's Great Outdoors Initiative. Then Dan Ashe, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service; Liz Agpaoa, Regional Forester, USFS; and Leonard Jordan, Eastern Regional Conservationist, NRCS, all added congratulatory reamarks for the longleaf partners and especially the participating private landowners. The eveing's events were ably emceed by Patrick Glass of the Alabama Forestry Commission who serves as Chair of the Longleaf Partnership Council.
Just 3 years ago, in March 2009, the Range-wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine was released and the ambitious Restoration Initiative was launched. This collaborative effort followed decades of concern for the near-demise of the longleaf ecosystem as well as the many efforts of The Longleaf Alliance as original proponents for longleaf restoration.
In three short years, the many partners involved with the Initiative have engaged countless private landowners across the South and the support of many state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations and others is being demonstrated through significant on-the-ground accomplishments. The Longleaf Partnership Council, comprised of 30+ representatives of these constituencies, is now providing a communications and coordination forum for the Initiative.