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The Maryland Tree Farm Program and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service announced that the 2012 Charles County tree farmer of the year William Bowie Jr. of Marbury, has been selected as the 2012 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for the state of Maryland. Five other county tree farm winners were nominated for the state title.

The American Tree Farm System is a nationwide program that encourages private forest landowners to be the best stewards of the land while they do an effective job of growing trees as a crop, with the added benefits of improved wildlife habitat, watershed protection, clean air, outdoor recreation and aesthetic value.

For more than 70 years, the American Tree Farm System has been giving forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive, according to a DNR news release.

The first tree farm was established in 1941 in Washington state.

Bowie owns 254 acres, which has been a certified tree farm for 15 years.

He is a former forest products operator and has been instrumental in managing his forest land for the multiple use concept, timber production, hunting and recreation. A lot of the work completed on the property is done with the help of the hunt club that Bowie manages on the property.

He not only manages his property but helps fellow tree farmers in implementing sustainable forest management practices.

Bowie’s tree farm has been used for educational tours in the past, which included hosting Maryland Envirothon training for high school students in Charles County and a tour for the U.S. Forest Service Cooperative Forest Management Program to showcase forest management practices implemented on the property.

Bowie was also the 1998 state tree farmer of year.