Kirk Rodgers Commemoration Trail Naming and Plaque
The Maryland Sustainable Forestry Council and the Maryland / Delaware Division of the Society of American Foresters are working to raise funds to name a trail and place a memorial plaque to honor the life and conservation work of Kirk Rodgers. The plaque will be placed on a stone base located at the entrance to the Fred W. Besley Demonstration Forest in Dorchester County. The naming of a hiking trail on a state forest tract in Kirks’ honor has also been proposed.
Kirk P. Rodgers, a long-time stalwart and pillar of the Maryland forestry community, passed away on October 13, 2016, at the age of 83. His career spanned over six decades and included positions with the U.S. Forest Service, Baltimore County, and the Organization of American States where he served as Director for Sustainable Development and Environment. At the time of his death, Kirk was a member of the Maryland Sustainable Forestry Council and advocate for sustainable forestry programs in the state.
Kirk managed the Rodgers family forestry holdings which consist of 8,000 acres on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Tidewater Virginia. Kirk’s grandfather, Fred W. Besley, was the first state forester of Maryland.
A graduate of Yale University, Kirk's professional career included jobs with the U.S. Forest Service, the Baltimore County Planning Commission, and a three-year tour of duty as a naval air intelligence officer. Kirk joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1960, and in 1965 was named Chief of the Natural Resources Unit. In 1971 he became the Director of the Department of Regional Development and Environment, and in 1996 he was appointed Director of the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment. He managed a multidisciplinary staff providing technical assistance to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in planning integrated development. He retired from the OAS in 1998 and continued for several years as a consultant to international organizations, including the Commission of Environmental Cooperation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Kirk was an avid outdoorsman and as president of his family's timber corporation, the largest family-owned forestry business in Maryland, he often spoke locally and nationally about sustainable forest management. He served as President of the Maryland Forests Association and President of the Forest Landowners Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Forest Landowners Tax Council and became involved with the Forest History Society. In 2004 he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for his lifetime achievements. In 2009, he received the Forest Landowners Association Leadership Award.
Make a Donation
Make checks payable to Maryland-Delaware SAF with a note on the check mentioning the Kirk Rodgers Fund.
Checks should be sent to:
c/o MD-DE SAF
14038 Blairs Valley Road
Clear Spring, MD 21722