Thursday, June 20, 2019


A Tribute to a Pioneer in Land Conservation and Forestry
By Charles L. McKelvy

On April 17, 2019 Florida lost one of their true conservationist and land stewards.

The late Dennis Andrews, photo by Chuck McKelvy
Dennis Evans Andrews, 83 was born in Day, Florida on April 6, 1936. Following his father’s accidental death in 1958 Dennis left college, returning to Chiefland, Florida to run the family land and logging business his father had started in the early 1940s.

I met Mr. Andrews in 1980 when he requested technical advice regarding deer management on his Levyville tract near Chiefland, and his River tract, which is now Andrews Wildlife Management Area near Fanning Springs. From our initial meeting it was obvious he had a keen knowledge of wildlife and a strong land ethic. Although I had the formal training, I joked with him over our 39 year friendship that I probably benefited from our outings as much or more than he.

Forest Stewardship Tour at Dennis Andrews' property,
photo by Leslie Hawkins
Mr. Andrews was generous with his time and resources allowing state agencies and other NGOs to use his property for field days and workshops.  This provided other non industrial forest landowners an opportunity to see firsthand an example of land stewardship and how you could successfully integrate timber and wildlife management.

His Levyville property was perhaps the best example of how to balance the need for timber revenue with wildlife conservation. He left areas natural that were not suited for pine production to break up the existing habitat. This created a mosaic of different age pine stands, stringers of hardwoods and depressional wetlands that were scattered throughout the 3,800 ~ acre property. This strategy created a diversity of plant communities and productive wildlife habitat with only minimal trade-offs with timber production.

Dennis also shared his love of the land and outdoors by teaching the experience of hunting to many friends and family. His woods knowledge and hunting skills were sharp but he enjoyed and respected all wild things. A respected forester and wildlife ecologist Aldo Leopold once wrote: "There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot". Dennis Andrews was one that could not!

When I was notified of Dennis’s passing I reflected back on our friendship and lessons I learned. He was a humble man that led by example, inspiring others through his love of the land, his genuine demeanor and his experience gained through a lifetime of caring for the land.

His legacy continues through his children, grandchildren and any who had the privilege to meet him. A lifetime of conservation reflected his understanding that we are merely caretakers of the land for those that follow us in the future.

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