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Morgan Co. forester honored as state's best

March 15, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - Reforestation of the West Virginia woodlands is most important to Herb Peddicord, who recently was named the 2006 Employee of the Year for the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

Peddicord, 47, established the Morgan County Tree Planting Board in 2005 and more than 44,000 trees were planted in 2006. His goal for 2006 was to plant 50,000 trees, so "that's not bad," he said.

"Everything is involved," he said, with forest resources and restoration. "I am trying to keep this county in trees rather than cutting them down and not replanting."

Peddicord said he likes being a guest speaker at elementary schools "because that's the time to teach them (students) the importance of the environment in Morgan County."

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Since last July, he has been the Landowner Assistance Forester for Berkeley, Jefferson, Hampshire and Morgan counties. "The landowners are the stewards," Peddicord said, and he assists with tree planting, thinning operations, wildlife and stream protection.

"Because of all the development in these counties, we need to protect the resources and replant trees. I'd like to see each county have a tree planting board."

Peddicord is also an advisor to the Sleepy Creek Watershed Association's Invasive Species Task Force and helped eradicate the Purple Loosestrife plant in Morgan County, he said.

Invasive plant species are prevalent in these counties, and people are not aware of the problems or don't have the resources to address them, he said.

"They will choke out the native plants," he said.

"I'm trying to educate people about the value of forests," he said. "They provide clean air and clean water and cool the atmosphere and provide a habitat for wildlife," not to mention the simple beauty of mature forests.

Peddicord said God calls us to be good stewards of the earth. "I enjoy teaching people the lessons of good stewardship," he said.

According to the press release from the West Virginia Forestry Division in Charleston, W.Va., Peddicord was one of three nominees selected by a five-person panel.

"The panel made its decision based on work ethic; work accomplishments, including quality and quantity; public service attitude; teamwork; community service; and overall forestry professionalism," according to the release.

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