The Indiana SAF is a unit of the national organization and represents 200 professional foresters and forestry students in Indiana. In addition to the benefits obtained from membership in the national organization, the Indiana SAF is active in forest policy at the state and local level, maintains a communications program involving members as forester-communicators, co-sponsors continuing education programs with the Purdue University Co-operative Extension Service, holds two meetings a year and publishes The Indiana Forester, a quarterly newsletter. ISAF is part of the larger forestry community in Indiana which can be accessed through the links page.
Forestry in Indiana goes back 100 years with the formation of what is now the Indiana Division of Forestry. Charles Deem, a botanist, was the first State Forester. The first Extension Forester was appointed in 1930, and the years immediately following World War II saw the expansion of extension forestry through Purdue University and the employment of foresters by the Division of Forestry and by industry.
What now is the Indiana SAF first emerged in 1949 as an Indiana Sub-Section of the Central States Section under the old national organization. The professional foresters of the day immediately went to work on important issues. In January 1950, a committee on cutting practices was formed, and later that year recommended minimum cutting practices for Indiana were approved by the sub-section membership. After much discussion with the Indiana Hardwood Lumberman's Association, the minimum cutting practices were published as an extension bulletin in 1956. In 1972, a timber buyers licensing act was passed by the legislature.
The SAF also was involved in the debate over professional standards in the Indiana Department of Conservation in the early 1950s. In 1956 a set of standards for reorganizing the department on the basis of professional employment was approved by the Indiana Sub-Section. A merit system and professionalism of the Indiana Department of Conservation finally occurred by governor's executive order in the 1960s, attracting well-qualified professional foresters to the department. In 1971, supervisory personnel were moved from a patronage system to career positions.
As foresters were dismissed from the department in the early 1950s, some became the first consulting foresters in the state. In the same period, new forest industries moved into the state with an increasing presence of professional foresters in industry ranks.
In 1962, an awards committee was formed. In 1963, the name was changed from sub-section to Indiana Chapter of the Central States Section. With total reorganization of the national SAF in the 1970s, the Central States Section was dissolved, and Indiana became a freestanding State Society.
Today, the Indiana SAF continues its history of activism in policy, education, and innovative practice. It provides a common bond among foresters of diverse backgrounds and employment situations practicing in Indiana.
The above was prepared by Dick Reid condensed from material provided by ISAF Historian Ben Hubbard.