We are a retired group of men and women who:
Is a retiree or someone close to retirement from employment with the USDA - Forest Service.
Is a spouse of a deceased retiree, who qualified as a member.
Is a retiree who has, at any time, been employed by the USDA - Forest Service.
New and past retirees are welcome! Join Now!
This organization is a non-profit (501c4), based in Atlanta, Georgia, to serve present, former and anticipated Forest Service retirees of the Southern United States. Members are former professional, technical and administrative employees of the USDA Forest Service and have at one time worked in or now live in the 13 Southern States or Porte Rico. Area chapters or other special interest or more intimate groups, have been organized throughout the region.
A Message From Our President, Sonny Cudabac
Dear Fellow Retirees,
Greetings everyone, I hope I find you well and safe with this pandemic still raging across our country and the world. These are difficult times, but there is hope with 2 vaccines now available and maybe two more on the way. Hang in we’ll get through this too!
SFSRA has not been able to have our normal luncheons and meetings in Atlanta this passed year, but we haven’t been idle. In 2020 we managed to revamp and rewrite our Constitution and consolidate the amendments. Much appreciate the work done on this by our Directors, chaired by Mac Gramley. We’ve also had three Appointees rotate off and their positions and are now filled. The new Appointees: Membership: Silvia Molina, Dixie Ranger Editor: Thurman Harp, and Historian: Wes Nettleton. We also added a new much needed Appointment under Membership, Data Base Manager: Clifford Taylor. Congratulations to the new appointees, much appreciate your dedication to SFSRA.
Even though we haven’t been able to meet in person because of Covid-19, we have used Zoom technology for meetings, consultation, planning and fellowship. My guess is this tech communication is being used by many of you and will continue to some degree even after this crisis is passed.
Our focus for this year is concentrating on improving our SFSRA membership and outreach. Silvia Molina, Membership Chair has taken on this much needed task. She is formulating approaches and gathering ideas to re-energize our membership. Thank you, Silvia for the dedicated efforts.
Finally, I want to thank Mr. Sid Haggard for the passed 8+ years of not only expertly editing and producing our Dixie Ranger, but for being a wonderful mentor for me and so many others associated with SFSRA. Sid’s dedication, expertise and foresight has been invaluable to say the least!
Stay safe and may God Bless…
Sonny Cudabac, President
Southern Forest Service Retirees Association
We want to keep in touch with our old friends and coworkers. We have two luncheons every year around the first of June and first of December in Atlanta. Local groups all over the region get together more frequently. The Dixie Ranger Newsletter, Facebook Page and the e-mail notices also keep our members informed.
ZOOM FOCUS GROUP
The Southern Forest Service Retiree Association (SFSRA) would like to get your input on how we can strengthen and grow the organization. We are looking at conducting a few focus group sessions by video conference (Zoom) where existing and former Association members, prospective members and current employees near retirement can provide their opinions and ideas and help us to:
identify barriers to participation/membership and
explore “value added” contributions of the SFSRA.
We hope to conduct the focus groups in late April and early May. If you would like to participate in a focus group, or provide input, please email our Membership Chair, Silvia Molina at email@example.com by April 10.
A Memorial Fund category has been established. If you would like to donate to the Southern Forest Service Retiree Association in memory or in honor of someone, you can now do so. Funds will be used to cover costs of memorials or however you wish to designate.
Send note and check to:
941 Northrope Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30324-4219
There are a lot of good books about Forest Service history that would make for great reading and gifts. See links below:
History and Culture of the Southern Region-
The Forest History Society has several historical documents and literature about the Forest and Range lands of the southern region. Check these out https://foresthistory.org/research-explore/us-forest-service-history/u-s-forest-service-publications/region-8-southern/
OVERVIEW OF THE REUNION AT THE CRADLE
Respectfully Submitted by a tired Reunion attendee—Jeannette Hartog, President 2018, OldTimers (Reprinted with permission)
The Southern FS Retirees Association in conjunction with the USDA-FS Southern Region and USDA-FS Southern Research Station welcomed FS Retirees from all parts of our nation. The purpose of the reunion was not only for visiting, reconnecting and enjoying each other, but also to rediscover (or discover for some) the Birthplace of Forestry in the US.
There were stories and history of the Pinchot family shared by Bibi Gaston, the great-grandniece of Gifford Pinchot. She shared untold stories of brave souls who launched the American Conservation Movement. We also heard from Chase Pickering, a great-great-grandson of George Vanderbilt. As a fifth generation family owner of Biltmore, he shared his family’s mission to preserve Biltmore as a conservation effort. These two speakers set the stage for the week as we explored The Cradle of Forestry in America, the Birthplace of science-based forest management.
We were offered two field trips: One to the Cradle of Forestry which included a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center and to the Cradle located on the Pisgah NF. We learned about Carl Schenck and saw his first American forestry school in Pisgah. This unique tour showcased the culture and music of the Southern Appalachian Mountain. We were served a luncheon of local taste treats followed by a local musician and story teller. Great stories, all in attendance won’t soon forget!
The second field trip was Biltmore Behind the Gate Tour which took folks behind locked gates to explore conservation history connections with Gifford Pinchot and Carl Schenck who established the first American forestry school on the Biltmore property. This tour also included the Mansion, gardens, and highlighted a limited engagement of Chihuly Glasswork
We enjoyed a presentation by Lisa Tate, Executive Director of the National Museum of FS History. She shared recent happenings with the Museum which will include a premier virtual exhibit which is now available to view at www.forestservicemuseum.org
The Reunion was also a fundraiser for the museum with new memberships. All proceeds, after expenses, from the Silent Auction and other monies left over after expenses will be donated to the museum.
A highlight of the week was the banquet on Thursday evening that feature the Bailey Mountain Cloggers from Mars Hills College in the Mountains near Asheville. They even taught some brave folks to Clog—our group has talent!!
Friday morning saw a tired, but happy group sad to say “Goodbye” to those they had reconnected with during the week. The Southern FS Retirees Association closed out the Reunion by passing the baton and a $5,000 check to the 2021 Reunion Hostess, Nancy Gibson, of the Pacific Southwest Retirees. The 2021 Lake Tahoe Gathering will be held September 13-17, 2021, at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV.
This was my first National Reunion, and it was great. My “congrats” to the Southern Retirees for their hospitality and an overall memorable experience!!