After an extensive national search, the board of directors of T.L.L. Temple Foundation is pleased to announce that Dr. Steve Jack has been named the founding executive director of Boggy Slough Conservation Area. Dr. Jack comes to east Texas after working over two decades at the Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Georgia. He will assume his new role at the foundation in January 2019.
Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Wynn Rosser states, “Our board and staff could not be more thrilled to have Dr. Jack join our team. Beginning with the first timber harvested in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Temple family has had a special bond with the forests, wetlands, and open spaces across this region.” Dr. Rosser continues, “Because of that, conservation is a part of our Foundation’s values. We look forward to Steve’s leadership in developing the Boggy Slough Conservation Area.”
In this new position, Dr. Jack will lead the foundation’s mission of establishing and using Boggy Slough as a touchstone of excellence in East Texas through three programs that will be developed in multiple phases – research, conservation, and outreach. The research program will focus on elucidating many of the gaps in scientific knowledge that exist with respect to forest, wildlife, and water conservation in East Texas. The conservation program will leverage management operations at Boggy Slough with innovative research to inform regional land management and policy. The outreach program will integrate scientific research, applied management, and conservation and restoration efforts. The Foundation’s long-term impact on the environment in East Texas will be maximized through the nexus of these programs, positively affecting land management, ecosystem conservation, and environmentally sustainable policies in the future.
Dr. Jack has more than 25 years of experience in conservation and the environment. Since 2000, he has served as conservation ecologist at the J.W. Jones Ecological Research Center where he works to integrate the center’s research and resource management activities. Dr. Jack’s research interests include forest stand dynamics and silvicultural manipulations to achieve multiple objectives. His recent work focused on interactions between forest canopy characteristics and regeneration dynamics and developing better understanding for the ecological basis of uneven-aged silvicultural practices. In addition, he co-edited a book on the management and restoration of longleaf pine forests, has served as one of the primary instructors for the Ecological Forestry Training Workshop, and advises agencies and landowners in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. His previous professional experience includes serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Science at Texas A&M University. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Physics and Mathematics from Erskine College (1982), received his Master’s degree in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida (1986) and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology and Silviculture from Utah State University (1990).
Located west of Lufkin, the Boggy Slough Conservation Area contains some of the oldest and most ecologically significant hardwood forest habitats in East Texas and spans 18 miles of river frontage along the Neches River. It is made up of 19,055 acres in Houston and Trinity Counties. For decades the area has been managed as a wildlife and forest management research and demonstration area, providing habitat for white-tailed deer and eastern wild turkey, as well as numerous ducks, songbirds, and fish.
T.L.L. Temple, founder of Southern Pine Lumber Company, first purchased land in what is now the Boggy Slough Conservation Area in 1902. The Temple family has more than a century’s connection to the place and its people. Boggy Slough belonged to the Temple family until the late 1960s when it became a corporate asset of Temple Industries, Temple-Eastex and Temple-Inland, Inc. After 1940, Boggy Slough operated as a wildlife and forest management research and demonstration area with special attention paid to conservation and sustainability. Ownership of Boggy Slough was briefly transferred to International Paper in 2012 with a corporate sale, and the foundation acquired Boggy Slough in 2013. In 2015, the foundation entered into an agreement with The Conservation Fund to place a conservation easement over the entire 19,000+ acres, which ensures the land will be protected and managed sustainably as a working forest in perpetuity.