Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 29, 2014

Langdale Co. contest spreads forestry message

VALDOSTA — Bright, colorful artwork adorns three large semi-trucks, fueled by natural gas, spreading the message of the importance of forests through Georgia, the southeast, and soon, across the country.

The Langdale Company sponsored a contest for children of the 1,100 employees of the company and its subsidiary businesses, with each winner of the three age divisions receiving a plaque and a $2,500 scholarship from the company.

“Many people think they know all about forests and trees, but most of what they think they know isn’t true,” said Georgia Forestry Executive Director Steve McWilliams. “This contest will help educate the public, and we see this potentially spreading across the country. It takes a leader to step up and be the first, and thanks to the Langdale Company for their leadership.”

A ceremony Friday afternoon at the company’s TLC Door plant recognized the winners and their families, showcasing their artwork on the company’s trucks.

Langdale Company President Wesley Langdale created the program, which has gone statewide through the Georgia Forestry Foundation with children at all schools in the state eligible to compete in the contest. A total package of $35,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to two winning students and their schools.

Langdale acknowledged the winners and thanked them and their families for supporting the company and raising awareness of the importance of sustaining the state’s forest resources.

Grayson Peek, 9, won for his drawing and slogan, “The forest is my playground”; Davis Mathis, 13, won for his artwork and slogan, “Working today to build our future ... tomorrow ...”; and Brittany Horsley, 15, won for her photo and slogan, “Sustaining Life — Air, Water, Wildlife, Mankind.”

Valdosta School Superintendent Martin Roesch was in the audience in support of the winning students.

Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris said programs such as this help to reinforce the GFC’s vision of maintaining healthy and sustainable forests in the state “for today and generations to come.”

Some of the forest facts Farris shared include that forests cover two thirds, or 24.8 million of Georgia’s 37 million acres of land; forestry provides $28.9 billion to the state’s economy annually and employs more than 135,000 people.

“It’s important for children to understand the importance of working forests as our future leaders,” Farris said.

McWilliams said that among the so-called facts that are not true are that the state has always been forested, but it hasn’t. Much of the state’s forests were planted. Also, the government does not own the forest land in the state; small, private landowners own the majority.

Langdale said eventually he hopes “everything that’s moving” in the company, including trucks hauling timber and products to other states, will be adorned with the artwork. And he announced that the company will hold the project again next year, in addition to the statewide project.

“We believe that everyone needs to understand the benefits citizens derive from our forests,” he said.

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