North Carolina Longleaf Coalition - Boon Chesson Receives North Carolina’s Illustris Palustris Award

February 12, 2015 Image 1 Boon Chesson Thumb

By Bill Pickens, NC Forest Service

The North Carolina Longleaf Coalition presented the 2014 Illustris Palustris award to Boon Chesson, a longleaf advocate and landowner from the North Carolina Piedmont region.  Boon was recognized by his peers at a joint meeting of the Greater Uwharries Land Conservation Partnership, the NC Sandhills Conservation Partnership, and the NC Longleaf Coalition.  North Carolina awards the Illustris Palustris annually to recognize an individual for significant contribution to the longleaf efforts in the State.  “Boon is an ambassador for longleaf pine restoration, specifically piedmont longleaf pine” wrote Terry Sharpe in his commendation, “ His interest in longleaf forestry, friendly outgoing personality, and sharing what he has learned have made him the go-to-guy for longleaf pine restoration and history in Montgomery County.”  Boon’s interest in longleaf forest management motivated him to change careers and acquire a forestry degree.

He practices what he preaches, managing his own personal property for longleaf pine.  Boon advocates the frequent use of prescribed fire.  Under Boon’s 20-plus year prescribed burn program, his personal land has gone from a typical old farm site to a veritable hotbed of native plant diversity.  Because of the frequent use of fire and resulting botanical diversity, botanists eagerly visit Boon’s property on a regular basis to identify plant species. He always makes his property available for educational hikes and events for landowners, and research purpose.

Boon worked with the local community college to promote and coordinate the first prescribed burner certification classes in North Carolina and is a member of the NC Prescribed Fire Council.  Through his work with the Stewardship and Land Protection committee of The Land Trust of Central NC, Boon has been instrumental in land conservation efforts in the southern Piedmont. Boon is an active “boots on the ground” voice for longleaf and his passion for longleaf as a forester, naturalist, botanist, and prescribed burner qualifies him as a voice for longleaf pine in North Carolina, and a deserving recipient of the 2014 Illustris Palustris Award.

Image 1:  Boon Chesson, landowner and longleaf advocate, is recognized for his efforts to restore longleaf in North Carolina.  Photo by Bill Pickens.

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