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For Release: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Edward Piestrak Named Exemplary Forest Steward

Edward Piestrak of Piestrak Forestlands, LLC, has won the Forest Champion Award for Exemplary Forest Steward, announced Paul J. D'Amato, Regional Director of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 8 office today. The contest was sponsored by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Forest Service and other partners to recognize forest champions throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Piestak was nominated for the award by Greg Muller, a DEC regional forester.

Forests provide clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and a host of other benefits to people. In rural and urban areas alike, trees are one of our greatest allies in reducing the pollution that flows off the land into local waterways and, ultimately, to the Chesapeake Bay. Peistrak owns nearly 900 acres of land in the town of Lindley in Steuben County, is an active member of New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) and a Master Forest Owner (MFO) volunteer who meets with forest owners to discuss owner objectives and how to find the assistance they need. His land has also been a certified Tree Farm since 1997.

The Forest Champion Award winner has demonstrated on-the-ground impact, public engagement and is an Exemplary Forest Steward. Since 2003, a professional forest management plan updated every 5 years has been used to manage Piestrak's mostly forested property. It is managed for wood, water, air, wildlife, and recreation by the constructing ponds, vernal pools, deer exclosures, wildlife food plots, nest boxes, access roads and planting trees; over 100 acres of timber stand improvement have been completed. Recently, water control structures were installed throughout his forest road system to restrict erosion. He has also waged war against invasive vegetation such as honeysuckle and multiflora rose.

Piestrak manages the LLC, while his sons and daughter have shares to ensure that the land will stay intact and actively managed for generations. He openly shares his experiences with other landowners. Through NYFOA, he holds an annual woods walk on the property to describe the various projects and provides a fun and informative tour. To assist in accomplishing forestry and wildlife related activities, Piestrak used several federal cost share programs and worked closely with Steuben County National Resource Conservation Service and the DEC Division of Land and Forests.

Piestrak was recognized at the annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum in September in Shepherdstown, WV.

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