WEA, SFC, and Endowment Partner in Program to Increase Minority Consulting Foresters

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) and its parent company Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC), have announced a pilot program to create more diversity within natural resource professions.  The need for diversity in forestry and natural resource consulting is imperative, not only to address minority communities that are underserved from the forestry profession, but also to foster more inclusive relationships between land owners and professionals that have not existed historically.  WEA and SFC will engage the first apprentice under this program and work with the candidate to develop and implement a robust professional development and training program. The Endowment will engage with both WEA and the apprentice to garner feedback that will allow program enhancements and the sharing of best practices with the broader community.

“Years of investment in our highly-successful Sustainable Forestry and African-American Land Retention Program designed to expand the ranks of black families engaged in active forest management, highlighted the disparity of minorities in the ranks of consulting foresters. Increasing the number of foresters and forestry technicians representing various people of color not only increases the number of bright young natural resource professionals overall – which is greatly needed – but it also increases the likelihood that more minority landowners will become interested and engaged in forest management,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment. “When all is said and done, a talented and diverse army of consultants benefits both forests and the communities that rely on them.”

The People of Color in Forestry Apprenticeship Program will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact in addressing the unique challenges and needs of natural resource stewardship in underserved and socially disadvantaged communities.  The benefits of this program will serve not only the natural resources profession but also future generations of minority land owners, through engagement around the retention, legacy, and heritage of forest management. WEA and SFC are proud to be the lead consulting firm to take part in this visionary endeavor.

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The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-rich communities  – www.usendowment.org 

Harvey joins WEA as Region Manager & Senior Forester

Wiregrass Ecological Associates, LLC (WEA) and Southern Forestry Consultants, LLC (SFC) are pleased to announce Alexis (Alex) A. Harvey has joined our team in the Gulfport Office. Mr. Harvey will serve as the Mississippi Region Manager for WEA and Senior Forester for SFC.

He holds a B.S. degree from Mississippi State University in the Forestry with a Wildlife Management concentration. He is also a Registered Forester in Mississippi and Alabama and a Forestry Technical Service Provider in Alabama with the USDA.

Prior to coming to the consultancy world, Mr. Harvey served as Sustainable Forestry Program Manager with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund in partnership with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In this role, Mr. Harvey helped to develop and pilot the African American Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Program which has garnered high accolades.

Under appropriations from the Environmental Protection Agency, he also developed a program to address the unique challenges and conduct outreach and education for underserved and socially disadvantaged landowners around the issue of conservation easements.

Prior to working in the nonprofit world, he also has over 7 years’ experience with the USDA Forest Service on the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania. In this role, he gained expertise in natural resources policy, silviculture, oil and gas development on federal and private lands, watershed management, human dimensions of wildlife management and a host of other environmental issues including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Mr. Harvey has worked with two state agencies (Mississippi Forestry Commission and Florida Division of Forestry) as a Service Forester. Mr. Harvey is also the President of Legacy Land Management, LLC which is a Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) in Mississippi and Louisiana and a Certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the Mississippi Development Authority.

We are excited to have Mr. Harvey join our team in Mississippi and contribute his project management experience in both silviculture and governmental affairs. He is excited to help lead our Mississippi operations into the future.