From USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Alabama:Auburn, Ala, December 15, 2014 – Tim Albritton, State Staff Forester with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Auburn, Alabama, was presented the Jerry L. Johnson Award during the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts (AACD) Annual Meeting in Orange Beach, Alabama. NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett said the award was established to honor the late State Forester Jerry Johnson. It is given annually to an Alabama NRCS employee who exhibits excellence in public service through family, employment, profession, and community. “Tim is a dedicated employee who demonstrates the value of hard work and a passion for conservation,” Puckett said. “He takes pride in his work and is well-respected by co-workers, landowners, and forestry professionals across the nation.”
Family is very important to Tim. He has been married to his wife, Karen, for 29 years. Karen describes him as “a solid, humble man who loves the Lord, his family, and nature.” The Albritton’s have three children–Joseph, working in Montgomery for the Alabama Forestry Commission; Hannah, attending graduate school at the University of Montevallo; and Sarah, a junior at Wetumpka High School.
Hannah spoke of her father and said that his love for them and his involvement in their lives has made them who they are today. “I hope Joseph and Sarah realize and don’t take for granted who we have for a father. Out of all my friends and people I know, no one has a dad as loving, wise, and dedicated as our dad.”
Love of the land was instilled in Tim early. He bought 15 acres on the Tallapoosa River from his grandfather. His favorite pastime is improving the land he manages for wildlife, hunting, and timber.
Tim started working for the Alabama Forestry Commission in 1986 and progressively gained respect and experience in his field. He graduated from Auburn University with a BS Degree in Forest Resources in 1995 and also became a registered forester. He joined Alabama NRCS as State Staff Forester in 2003.
Knowing that our future depends on good stewardship and the ability to take care of our land and water resources, Tim takes the time to speak to school groups on the importance of protecting the environment. He recently spoke to 4th graders at Redland Elementary School and shared his love for forestry. He provided a tree and helping plant it as a memorial.
Another group that Tim supports and regularly attends is the Elmore Country TREASURE Forest Landowner’s Association. He has been president and is currently the co-president. He is also an active member of the Alabama Chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF).
Tim is actively involved in a number of forestry and wildlife trainings each year for NRCS employees. He takes time to learn the training needs and sets goals each year to address those needs. He coordinates with other agencies and organizations to bring the most up-to-date information to the field trainings.
A lot of Tim’s effectiveness as the NRCS State Staff Forester directly relates to his interactions with other forestry agencies to help educate the public and others about forestry needs. These include the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, RC&D Councils, and other entities to provide training opportunities to underserved landowners. He is in constant coordination with agencies and groups such as the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts, Alabama Farmers Federation, Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Forestry Association, Alabama Forest Landowners Association, and many others. He often moderates and speaks at meetings held by other organizations.
Tim has participated in nationally led multi-agency working groups to better improve conservation achievements on the ground in forestry and more specifically, longleaf pine. He serves on the board of the Bradley/Murphy Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Trust, and is one of the Natural Resource Coordinating Council TREASURE Forest panel members.
Being involved with his family, employment, or profession is important to Tim, but he does not stop there. He knows that community is also vital to a meaningful life.
For 23 years, Tim has been active at Mulder Memorial United Methodist Church in the Redland Community. He has taught Sunday School classes for several age groups, led some one-time programs including a year-long one for men and their sons called, “Raising A Modern Day Knight,” and one for married couples. Tim has served on various committees and completed three 3-year terms as Chairman of the Administrative Board.
Through the church’s men’s group, he helped restore a church building for the Hispanic community, helped with repairs for widows and the elderly, and helped build a playground and ball field on the church property for community use.
Tim went on two mission trips to offer his forestry knowledge and skills. One trip was to Uzbekistan where he helped with fruit tree orchards to supply food for an orphanage. While there he received a rare invitation to visit with government officials that helped bridge relationships between the local mission workers and the government.
On another mission trip to Zambia, Africa, he wrote a management plan for 40 acres of land given to a church group by the government. He also visited a native village where a well had been dug and installed with money raised by the Mulder Church.
To effectively execute his job, Tim spends many nights away from home and often comes home late from field office visits. “He is a hard working NRCS employee that should be recognized for his dedication,” said Jeff Thurmond, NRCS Wildlife Biologist, who nominated Tim for the Jerry L. Johnson Award. “Tim is a man of integrity that has a strong faith and is dedicated to God, his wife and children, and NRCS,” he said. He also stated that Tim demonstrates the highest level of integrity, sincerity, and commitment to excellence that this distinguished award represents.
“I was blessed to have known Jerry,” said Tim. “To receive this award is truly an honor.”