2022 Foresters Forum Keynote Speaker
“It’s a Great Day to be a Forester!”
For 45 years Carlton Owen of Marietta, SC, has been at the forefront of conservation innovation. A forester and wildlife biologist, he holds a B.S. degree in forestry and M.S. in wildlife ecology from Mississippi State University. He is emeritus President & CEO of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), an organization he led from its creation in 2006 until his retirement in December 2020.
Prior to his time with the Endowment, he led his consultancy, The Environmental Edge, LLC, in “bringing business and he environment together” to benefit both. He was the inaugural Executive Director of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative program and Vice President-Forest Policy, Champion International Corporation. He has held leadership positions with the American Forest Foundation; American Forest Council; American Forest Institute; Potlatch Corporation; and Mississippi Wildlife Federation.
Among his achievements is “Acres for America” – a first-of-its-kind program to off-set development acre-for-acre with conservation properties. The program linked the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, where Owen served as Vice Chairman of the Board, with Walmart in a $35 million, ten-year commitment that helped conserve 1.6 million acres in the U.S. and in 2016 was extended for a second decade.
Owen has served on a vast array of boards, advisory councils, and commissions. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Greenville, SC-based SynTerra Corporation; CEI Capital Management of Brunswick, ME; and is Vice Chairman of the Greenville County (SC) Historic and Natural Resources Trust.
Among Owen’s many recognitions is the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian award and the Society of American Forester’s 2019 Gifford Pinchot Medal — the highest honor bestowed on a forester. He is an Alumni Fellow (1990) and the first Alumnus of the Year (1990) of Mississippi State University’s College of Forest Resources.