School of Forestry and Wildlife alumna Becky Watson, who in 1985 became the second woman in the school to earn a bachelor’s degree in forest engineering — was recently inducted into the Georgia Forestry Hall of Fame.
Watson, the senior procurement forester at Atlanta-based paper and packaging supplier WestRock, is the third woman who has been inducted into the Georgia Forestry Hall of Fame, which began 60 years ago to honor foresters who have made significant contributions to the forestry profession. It is a function of the Georgia division of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters. “I am very honored to have been selected by my peers to receive this award,” Watson said of her induction into the Hall of Fame after working 31 years in the field. “This really means a lot to me.”
Watson has served the forestry community as a member of the Society of American Forestry, the Southeastern Society of American Foresters Leadership Academy and Project Learning Tree. Among numerous activities, she has served as an American Tree Farm inspector and district chair, a Billy Lancaster SAF Forestry Youth Camp coordinator and teacher, a presenter at Forestry Field Days and an instructor for Auburn University procurement practicum.
“Becky shares her fondness for all things forestry with countless youth and adults,” said Ashley Smith of the Alabama Forestry Association, a longtime friend and co-worker. “As a child, Becky enjoyed spending time outside — playing, camping and hiking. As a teen, she filled her summers working for the Youth Conservation Corp in Anniston, Alabama, prepping tents on the national forest sites, blazing and cutting part of the Pinhoti Trail and conducting timber stand improvement.”
Smith said Watson followed in the footsteps of her father, a 1950 Auburn University engineering graduate, when it came time to choose a college. True to her early roots, Watson has been active in public and private school outreach in papermaking, forest products and forestry careers, and served as a leader of the Boy Scouts of America, where she was also a merit badge counselor, trained scouts for the wood badge and served on staff. “As a timber buyer for Mead Coated Board in the 1990s and now as a senior procurement forester for WestRock, she maintains that confidence and success, always bringing organization, attention to detail and a collaborative spirt to the workplace.