- About the Year of Forests
- Stay Involved
- Campaign News
- Media Coverage
- 10 Most Threatened Forests In The World
- Administration Announces Wood Promotion Strategy at U.S. International Year of Forests Celebration
- Forest Service To Promote International Year Of Forests
- Leavell and Politicos Sitting in a Tree"
- Morning Profile: Chuck Leavell, from Trees to Stones
- Rock n’ Roll Conservationists Celebrate America’s Forests, USDA Green Buildings Strategy
- Trees and 'Stones!
- USDA Green Building Initiative Announced at International Year of Forests Celebration
- USDA Leads the Way on Green Buildings, Use of Wood Products
- Virginia Students Celebrate International Year of Forests
Photography Fellowship Blog
Fairmont, West Virginia
August 9, 2011
By Josh Birnbaum
Generational Tree Farmers
After sleeping in a wet tent and being rained on all night, I awoke to a gorgeous swath of light shining through the trees. It seemed to make the damp suffering worthwhile:
After getting cleaned up and throwing my soaked tent in the bed of my truck to dry, I visited the Crawford Tree Farm: a 400-acre plot of forested land started by Jim and Enid Crawford in the 1940's in Fairmont, West Virginia. Jim was selected as the West Virginia Tree Farmer of the Year in 1971. After Jim died in 1991, Enid took over management of the farm and was selected as the West Virginia Tree Farmer of the Year in 2000, just like her husband.
The farm was incredible. Well-managed and cared for and loved, even. They have many varietals of trees and do their best to keep out invasive species and keep up the trails. As we were walking, Enid's children, Martha and Bill, were clearing the paths from a recent storm. They couldn't help themselves; I could see that it was a habit to constantly work while on the land.
After a lovely hike and talk, I decided to make a portrait of Martha, who now lives with her mother Enid and takes care of the land every day. I learned that she doesn't drive a tractor or truck through the miles of trails—she hikes every bit of it and carries a backpack, chainsaw, and radio with her while she molds the land.
Many generations have played a role in this farm, and will continue to do so. I was awed and humbled by the constant dedication I saw to land and family and tradition. I want a tree farm now.