Energy and Environment Cabinet
Kentucky Woman to Head Foresters Association

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, October 08, 2008  
Contact Information:  Lynn Brammer, 502-564-4496  

The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) recently elected Leah W. MacSwords, state forester and director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry, as its new president at the association’s 86th annual meeting in Hyannis, MA.  MacSwords is the first woman to serve as the president of NASF and is also the first Kentucky State Forester to lead the organization. 

MacSwords, a woman of many firsts, is also the first female director in the 96-year history of the Division of Forestry.  She joined the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet (now the Energy and Environment Cabinet) in 1985 where her primary responsibilities were in the area of environmental protection.  In 1997, she was appointed deputy commissioner of the Department for Natural Resources and in June 2001, she became the division director and state forester.  Since that time, she has been actively involved in NASF serving on several committees and as the organization’s treasurer and vice president.  She has also served as the chair of the Southern Group of State Foresters and is a member of the Society of American Foresters.

NASF is a nonprofit organization that represents the directors of forestry agencies from the fifty states, eight U.S. territories and associated states, and the District of Columbia.  Through public-private partnerships, NASF seeks to discuss, develop, sponsor and promote programs and activities which will advance the practice of sustainable forestry, the conservation and protection of forest lands and associated resources and the establishment and protection of forests in the urban environment.  NASF also works with regional organizations – the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters (NAASF), the Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF), and the Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF) – to support forest management practices and policies unique to the regional characteristics and needs of our diverse forest resources in the United States.

“NASF believes America’s forests are a strategic national resource.  In the coming year, we will continue to pursue actions that promote sustainable forestry, including targeted federal funding to support effective state and private forestry programs,” said MacSwords.  “Other ongoing goals include a fire suppression funding fix to deal with the impacts of wildland fires on federal agency budgets and forest management programs, and elevating the role of trees and forests in energy and climate change initiatives.”

Ms. MacSwords is originally from Wickliffe in Ballard County and attended Ballard Memorial High School and she graduated from Murray State University.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Williamson of Barlow, and Shirley Williamson of Frankfort.  She currently resides in Frankfort with her husband, William Legg.