The History Of Stevens Forestry
Our Founders: Harriet & Irwin E. Stevens
STEVENS’ LOVE FOR TREES EARNS HIM THE DISTINGUISHED FORESTER AWARD
South Arkanas Sunday News – October 11, 1998
EL DORADO – Irwin E. Stevens knew what he wanted to do when his World War II stint in the Mediterranean Sea was over — work in the cool forests. His love for trees was recognized this summer when he was selected for the Distinguished Forester award by the Association of Consulting Foresters of America Inc.
As a child, he enjoyed working in his uncle’s fruit orchard with his six cousins and five siblings. His parents deid within a week of each other when he was 4. He lived with his uncle until he was 12. In 1934, at the age of 12, Steven and his brothers and sisters were sent to the Soldiers and Sailors Children’s Home in Knightstown, Ind.
As a Navy Signalman First class Petty Officer, Stevens ordered forestry books for off duty reading. After his honorable discharge, Stevens studied forestry at Purdue University in Indiana, graduating in 1949.
He landed his forest job with Arthur Emmerling, owner of Southwest Forest Association in Little Rock. Encouraged by Harvey McHenry, an El Dorado timberland owner, Stevens and his wife, Harriet, moved to El Dorado in 1950. They opened Stevens Forestry Inc. on the back porch of a house they rented down the street from McHenry. His wife, a registered nurse at a local hospital, served as secretary.
During the early years of his business, Stevens also worked as a tree surgeon. Today, the firm is the oldest, Arkansas-based timber consulting firm. It employs five graduate foresters, seven forestry technicians and two office assistants and manages lands in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, with a second office in San Augustine, Texas.
Although 76 years old, Stevens is at the office every day at 7 a.m. to meet the crews before their day of work.
In 1958, Stevens got his private pilot’s license to check boundary lines, and watch for timber theft and signs of the Southern Pine BArk Beetles. He also flies to check on operations in Louisiana and Texas.
Stevens is a charter member of the Arkansas chapter Association of Consulting Foresters of America Inc. Nationally, the ACF was organized in 1948. In the 1960s, Stevens helped organize the Arkansas Chapter.
In 1993 ACF established the Distinguished Foresters Award which has been awarded to 10 members.
Stevens is a registered surveyor and a registered forester in Arkansas. He is a member of the Arkansas Association of Registered Land Surveyors, the Arkansas Forestry Association, the Louisiana Forestry Association, Forest Landowners Association, the society of American foresters, National Federation fo Independent Business, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Consulting Foresters.
He served as chapter chairman of the ACF two years in the 1980s and helped plan the National ACF Convention in 1979.
He married Harriet Pronovost Stevens. They have two children: Mary Clapp of El Dorado, also a registered forester, and Mark Stevens, a pilot for American Airlines.
This story was transcribed from the South Arkanas Sunday News – October 11, 1998