Friend of the for­est

Beloved forester Beryl Budd re­tires

The Covington News - - Local News - GABRIEL KHOULI gkhouli@cov­news.com

Drive around enough of New­ton County and you’re sure to see a tree, or a few dozen, that’s been planted by forester Beryl Budd.

Budd has been mak­ing New­ton County a greener place for the past 27, and lo­cals had no short­age of sto­ries about the af­fa­ble, hard-work­ing man who is re­tir­ing from the Ge­or­gia Forestry Com­mis­sion.

Budd started out in his ca­reer as a ru­ral forester, help­ing pri­vate landown­ers man­age their forests, whether that meant cut­ting down un­healthy trees too far gone, main­tain­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing one that could be saved or plant­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of wooden be­ings.

Af­ter that, he moved to community forestry and has been in­volved in ev­ery city in New­ton County, in So­cial Circle and in cities all across the state. His New­ton Coun­try brethren held a re­tire­ment cer­e­mony Satur­day morn­ing at Ox­ford City Hall, and hon­ored him with words and the spec­trum of wooden gifts.

New­born’s Martha Ell­wanger even com­posed the beloved Budd a poem:

Beryl you’re go­ing to re­tire and that we ad­mire,

but what will we do when we no longer have you.

When the tor­nado hit, you never quit

and saved what you could, all that beau­ti­ful wood.

We give you three cheers

for all of the trees planted over the years.

The town looks like it did in years gone by

with a green canopy reach­ing up to the sky.

We’re a green town again,

and we thank you dear friend.

But sup­pose there a flood,

and trees fall with a thud,

or sup­pose we have snow

and strong winds that blow. The out­look is grim; we’ll be out on a limb. We wish you all the best, but we have a re­quest: stay closely in touch be­cause we need you so much.

Ox­ford’s Hoyt Oliver told about the deep mean­ing trees have held in many of the world’s reli­gions, in­clud­ing the tree of life in the Bi­ble, Sid­dhartha’s trans­for­ma­tion into the Bud­dha un­der the Bodhi tree, the Norse re­li­gion’s Yg­gdrasil, who’s roots were in the un­der­world and whose branches reached to the heav­ens, and Sioux holy man Black Elk who had vi­sions of a great flow­er­ing tree of life of peace and har­mony.

“And in re­cent years, Beryl Budd has been the pa­tron saint of the trees of Ox­ford,” Oliver said.

For his gift, Oliver of­fered Budd a bowl made from the burl of a Wa­ter Oak.

“A burl bowl for Beryl Budd,” Oliver said.

So­cial Circle of­fered Budd a blue­bird tree­house made by El­li­jay artist Lau­rance Sawyer, Por­terdale Mayor Ar­line Chap­man gave him an orig­i­nal tree paint­ing, New­ton County promised to plant in honor of Budd next Ar­bor Day and Cov­ing­ton had a stone en­graved with a mes­sage for Budd, which would be placed on a tree well on the north side of the square.

The stone read, “For a life­time of ded­i­ca­tion to plant­ing good­ness in the soil and the community the city of Cov­ing­ton ded­i­cates this tree in honor of Beryl Budd, GFC Community Forester. May the roots from his la­bor continue to ed­u­cate, beau­tify and en­cour­age all of those he has im­pacted.”

Budd in turn thanked all of the cities and ex­pressed what a plea­sure it’s been to work with all the lo­cal cities.

“This is re­ally great. What can I say? It’s been my plea­sure to have worked with all of you through the years,” Budd said. “Ev­ery­body’s been say­ing we’re go­ing to miss you. Ac­tu­ally I’m still here. I don’t have plans to go any­where, and I hope to be around for a while.”

When asked af­ter

the cer­e­mony, Budd said he had helped peo­ple plant prob­a­bly hun­dreds of thou­sands of trees, from seedlings to big trees, in his 30-plus year ca­reer.

“I’ve al­ways en­joyed the for­est. When I was a kid, I prac­ti­cally lived out in the woods, the for­est be­hind our home,” Budd said. “I just al­ways had an in­ter­est in and de­cided to go into forestry, and I’ve been there ever since and will continue work­ing in forestry.”

As for a fa­vorite tree, Budd chose the oak.

“I love oaks be­cause of the long life, and they give off so much shade. They’re ben­e­fi­cial for wildlife. They just have so many ben­e­fits,” he said.

As for the old­est tree he’s ever seen, he said it’s prob­a­bly the Red­wood and Se­quoia trees out west, along with the Dou­glas-firs and Pon­derosa Pines. He’s still hop­ing to make an­other trip out west to see the bristle­cone pines, thought to be some of the old­est or­gan­isms in ex­is­tence.

That sounds like the per­fect first va­ca­tion trip

Gabriel Khouli /The Cov­ing­ton News

Beryl Budd shows off one of the nu­mer­ous gifts he re­ceived at his re­tire­ment cer­e­mony Satur­day.

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