Texas A&M Forest Service celebrates a century of service
Over the past 100 years, Texas A&M Forest Service has accomplished many feats, including establishing itself as a premiere entity in both forestry and all-hazard response.
The state agency was established in 1915 by the 34th Texas Legislature under the Texas A&M College—making TFS the first state forestry agency in the nation to be part of a land grant institution. A fact not lost on former TFS director (1980-1996) Bruce Miles.
“Texas A&M Forest Service has always been a leader nationwide among state forestry agencies,” Miles said. “A big part of this comes from being part of the state’s land grant institution system where our department heads shared information, technology and research results.”
For the past century the people of TFS have been answering the call to service by monitoring the forests to improve health and productivity; working with communities to plant, care for and conserve the trees where people live, work and play; and by informing and educating landowners on sustainable land management practices.
“The employees of this agency are so vital in continuing to accomplish the goals and dreams that were put in place. TFS has become the most highly respected national leader in forestry,” said former director (1996-2008) James Hull. “However, there has never been a time in our one hundred year history that the agency was not striving to do the best it could to meet the needs of forestry.”
With a duty to protect, TFS is mandated by the state as the lead agency in wildfire suppression and through predictive services, prevention programs and response models have revolutionized the way states prevent, prepare for and protect against wildfire.
TFS leads incident management teams during state disasters and has led responses to such incidents as the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, and the 2011 wildfire season.
Having led the agency through the historic drought and wildfire season in 2011, current state forester and director Tom Boggus has seen the dedicated service and innovative spirit of TFS employees through the good times and bad.
“What an honor to represent the people of this agency as the director, especially during our centennial celebration year,” Director Tom Boggus said. “Words like ‘first agency in the nation’ and ‘a national model’ have been used repeatedly over the last century to describe TFS and they still ring clear and true as we begin our next century of service.”
TFS is one of four agencies under The Texas A&M University System that is also part of Texas A&M AgriLife—a cornerstone of one of the state’s premier institutions of higher education.
“Texas A&M AgriLife brings today’s best teaching, research, extension and service to Texans. For 100 years, Texas A&M Forest Service has embodied service as it protects against wildfires, provides forestry education, and leads the way in sustainability and conservation” William A. Dugas, acting vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences said. “We are proud to have them as part of the AgriLife family!”
With no signs of slowing down, this year marks the first century of service for TFS. The agency will have celebrations across the state to recognize this centennial milestone.
The centennial celebration kicked off at the annual Texas A&M AgriLife Conference the first week of January and continues in February as the agency is recognized during the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents meeting, and by the Texas Legislature.
TFS has partnered with the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation to host an exhibit, History in the Making: Texas A&M Forest Service, highlighting the agency’s past 100 years. The exhibit is open March 16–November 8.
The agency will also host several events throughout the state, including 100 tree giveaways, a commemorative tree presentation to each county in Texas and has published a new edition of the 1970 book Famous Trees of Texas: Texas A&M Forest Service Centennial Edition.
For a list of centennial events, visit TFScenturyofservice.tamu.edu. The website provides visitors access to historical agency images and documents, and allows visitors to listen to, view and explore historic films and audio files.