Chuck Leavell may be known as the legendary keyboardist for the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers Band, but he’s just as proud of being a champion for tree stewardship and sustainable forest management. His conservation ethic, his forest advocacy and his personal stewardship of Charlane Plantation near Macon, Ga., were recognized Feb. 27 when the U.S. Forest Service proclaimed him an honorary forest ranger.
“This means every bit as much to me as that Grammy did a couple of weeks ago,” said Leavell.
During a ceremony at the Georgian Terrace Hotel in Atlanta, Leavell accepted the award in the presence of dozens of uniformed past and present forest rangers. “Trees and forests are the lifeblood of our country. They give us so much,” Leavell said. “We have many challenges to keep our American forests healthy … and yet the forests have proven to be exceptionally resilient, it’s up to us to keep it that way.”
Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell bestowed the honor. “We are grateful to Chuck for using his platform as a world-famous musician to help spread the word about the importance of sustainable forest management,” Tidwell said. “When Chuck talks, people listen.”
Leavell and his wife, Rose Lane, have studied conservation techniques here and abroad, constantly finding ways to improve their wildlife and forest management. At home, their forestry practices have turned Charlane Plantation into a textbook tree farm, earning accolades from the Georgia Conservancy, the National Arbor Day Foundation and the American Tree Farm System.
- Smokey congratulates Chuck Leavell on becoming an Honorary District Ranger. Photo credit: Jim Caldwell, Public Affairs Officer, Kisatchie National Forest
Leavell is very active in forestry and conservation issues, serving on several boards and committees of conservation organizations. Over the years, he has supported many conservation activities at the Forest Service. His book, Forever Green: The History and Hope of the American Forest has been acclaimed by both the forestry and conservation communities.
Leavell joins actress Betty White who is also an honorary Forest Service ranger.
“We are all in this together, on public land and on private land. We are going to have to work together across borders and boundaries to protect the lands and waters that sustain us. Chuck Leavell understands that better than anyone,” Tidwell said.