Brameses receive stewardship award

Tom and Louise Brames, left, recieved the OFS Forest Stewardship Award from Scott Reckelhoff, property manager of OFS, on Feb. 5.

Tom and Louise Brames were presented the OFS Forest Stewardship Award by Scott Reckelhoff, property manager of OFS, during the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual meeting on Feb. 5 at the Venue 1408 in Huntingburg.

Dubois County contains many acres of highly erodible land; steep ground for which the best use is tree cover. Many landowners do not actively manage their forest ground which reduces their forest yield. Some forested land is not managed properly, thereby causing soil erosion and negative impacts on local water quality. Finally, the wood industry in Dubois County is large and local forest owners with under-managed woodlands are not fully reaping the benefits of the local wood market. The SWCD Board of Supervisors annually recognizes forest landowners who carry out wise forestry stewardship programs on their land.

This year’s recipients, lifelong residents of St. Anthony, own 68 acres in Dubois County and 300 acres in Perry County. All of their acreage is under Classified Forest and is owned for recreation, hunting, investment and their enjoyment. Some of the Brameses conservation practices are cutting vines, reforestation through tree planting, completing Timber Stand Improvement, and planting and maintaining food plots.

Brames says he loves the peace and quiet he feels when standing in his wooded acres. When asked what he would recommend to other forestland owners, he commented, “Love your woods.” With this in mind, one of his goals is to improve the forest with the main objective of controlling invasive species. Brames routinely monitors and controls invasive species when he finds them.

In 2017, Brames took an eroded, previously grazed hillside and worked with David Howell, wildlife biologist, to put in warm season grasses and wildlife plantings to protect the soil and benefit wildlife. He especially enjoys tree planting, knowing that some of these forests will be here in 100 years providing benefits to society and the environment. One of the challenges of extensive tree planting, Brames has discovered, is deer browsing. He does not mow around the individual young trees which helps conceal their location from the deer.

Brames is semi-retired from farming and has worked part-time with Multi-Resource Management since 2017. The Brameses are active in their church and involved with their grandchildren.

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