Family Forest Blog

The American Tree Farm System Honors 2023 Regional Inspectors & Awards National Inspector of the Year

American Forest Foundation

March 10, 2023

The Regional Inspectors and National Inspector of the Year stand in front of a colorful background accepting their awards.

The four regional inspectors of the year accepting their awards. Left to Right: Luke Marcek (Maryland), Jan Bernu (Minnesota), David Hibbs (Oregon) and Cathy Hardin (Florida).

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 10, 2023) – The American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) is pleased to announce the 2023 Regional Inspectors and National Inspector of the Year (IOTY). Each year, state programs nominate extraordinary inspectors who are evaluated by current ATFS staff based on their accomplishments and activities. We are thrilled to congratulate Luke Marcek of Maryland, Cathy Hardin of Florida, and David Hibbs of Oregon as 2023 Regional IOTYs, and we are honored to present Jan Bernu of Minnesota as the 2023 National IOTY. 

As 2023 National Inspector of the Year, Jan is being recognized for the values she lives each and every day. From her nomination: “Jan’s enthusiasm and passion impacts landowners beyond Tree Farms. Jan was instrumental in founding the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network and serves on its board of directors. She is a member of, and active in, the Minnesota Forestry Association and National Woodland Owners Association. She has been active with Minnesota State Tree Farm Program for 41 years. Without fail, committee members look to Jan for her ideas and her energy. Anyone who meets Jan can’t help but be inspired by her typical parting thoughts, ‘I hope that I’ve left my little corner of the world a better place – one tree and forest at a time.’”

Jan Bernu standing on stage accepting her National Inspector of the Year Award.

All four regional finalists received an American Tree Farm System branded fleece vest and a plaque at the National Leadership Conference. The National IOTY received an American Tree Farm System branded jacket, a plaque, and additional branded gifts at the National Leadership Conference. 

For more information about the American Tree Farm System, contact Angela Wells at 

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About the American Forest Foundation 

The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a forest conservation organization, works exclusively to empower family forest owners to make a meaningful conservation impact. We work across a broad coalition of conservation partners, corporations, and policymakers to empower family forest landowners and make sure everybody understands, supports and values the work of these landowners.  

Learn more:  

About the American Tree Farm System  

The American Tree Farm System® is a network of over 70,000 landowners sustainably managing more than 18.9 million acres of forestland. ATFS is the largest and oldest sustainable woodland program in the United States, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. The American Tree Farm System® is a program of the American Forest Foundation, a national forest conservation organization that works on the ground with families, partners and elected officials to promote stewardship for healthier forests.

American Forest Foundation

March 10, 2023

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