A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Northern forester wins national award

Carlton resident and consulting forester Jan Bernu was recognized as the Tree Farm Inspector of the Year by the American Tree Farm System in January. The award is presented annually to one among thousands of foresters who help nearly a half-million landowners across the country take care of woods in accordance with Tree Farm's standards of sustainability.

Bernu was selected for the national award from four regional (Northeast, Midwest, Southern, Western) finalists; the honor was announced during the national leadership conference.

Bernu works out of northeastern and central Minnesota, where she established a private consulting firm, Two By Forestry. She assists private and public landowners with myriad services including land, timber and wildlife management planning recommendations, natural resource management focused on water quality, invasive species, and insect and disease assessments. She also conducts timber sales and timber stand improvements; tree planting administration, coordination and compliance; ground photography and aerial photo interpretation; timber and regeneration inventories, general timber and timber damage appraisals, and planting mitigation projects.

The Minnesota State Tree Farm committee nominated Bernu because she has "exemplified commitment to family forest lands above and beyond the call of duty," said Brian Gulseth, chair of the Minnesota committee. He noted her commitment to the outreach work of the committee in addition to her passion for her own consulting business.

Bernu is the first to argue that she is not an exception, but rather ranks herself among her many Minnesota colleagues who have found that Tree Farm is a great way to encourage landowners to be engaged in and proud of their land and their management accomplishments.

"My dream is to leave healthy woodlands for future generations; to encourage young women to take the path of forestry; to be a part of the Tree Farm system; to especially encourage women to engage in the sustainability of their lands through such networks as the Women's Woodland Networks," she said in her acceptance speech. "Ultimately, I want to continue to leave my little corner of the world a better place - one tree, one forest, and one Tree Farm at a time."

Editor's note: The story was corrected to clarify that Bernu was honored with two awards by the American Tree Farm System at its conference Jan. 31. She was recognized as the Tree Farm Inspector of the Year by the American Tree Farm System, out of thousands of volunteer foresters across the country. Bernu was also selected as the 2023 Midwest Regional Inspector of the Year, which put her in the running for the national award.