Chelsea site named ‘Treasure’

Shelby County’s Cathy and Mike Strong are 2003 winners of the Helene Mosley

Memorial TREASURE Forest Award for the Northwest Alabama Region.

The couple was nominated for their 553-acre TREASURE forest, located in the Chelsea area, by Shelby County forester Brad Lang of the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The Strongs have lived on the property for 20 years. The property includes three man-made ponds stocked with bass and bluegill, a 250-acre quail preserve and in addition to their home and the home of a son, two log cabins which date to the 1800s.

All of the plants around their home are indigenous Alabama plant life.

Mike Strong said the couple hosts more than 100 guests a year. He and his wife encourage their friends to bring their children to fish, hunt, hike and walk trails, he said.

Mike said 300 pounds of bass are taken from the ponds each year.

While he said there is a removal program for fish under 16 inches in length for population management, there is a catch and release program for larger fish which range from three to eight pounds.

However, he said, visitors are allowed to take all the bluegill they can eat.

&uot;We were just so honored to have been considered for this in the first place and to have won the award … it is a great honor,&uot; Strong said.

&uot;I never wake up a day and look out at this farm that I’m not thankful.&uot;

Cathy Strong said she enjoys the property so much that when she travels, she takes a nature sound recording with her to remind her of home.

Mike is retired from the advertising business, and the couple have two sons, McDonald, 25, and John Paul, 23.

The Northwest Region includes Bibb, Colbert, Cullman, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Marion, Pickens, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston counties.

Winners of the TREASURE forest award are selected by the Alabama Forest Planning Committee composed of various agencies.

The committee determines what qualifies as for a

TREASURE forest award.

The word Treasure in treasure forest stands for Timber, Recreation, Environment, Aesthetics, Sustained, Usable Resource.

The TREASURE Forest program was created by the Alabama Forestry Commission to encourage and recognize landowners for good stewardship of their land.

According to information provided by the Shelby County office of the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Helene Mosley Memorial TREASURE forest award was begun in 1978 to annually recognize the most outstanding TREASURE Forests in Alabama, especially with respect to educational value and use.

The Alabama Forestry Planning Committee and the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Awards Program, administered by Auburn University sponsors the awards.

The award is based on how well a landowner displays the TREASURE forest philosophy of good stewardship.

The philosophy is reflected by accomplishments the landowner has made on the property and educational activities on the property that promote good forest stewardship to others