By Mary Ann Van Osdell, special to the Press-Tribune
Resolutions and proclamations to commemorate the retirement of Ricky Kilpatrick for 33 years of service to the LSU AgCenter were presented on behalf of Sen. Barrow Peacock and by Sheriff Julian Whittington and the Bossier Parish Police Jury at a gathering Nov. 30 at the Red River Wildlife Refuge.
Kilpatrick is a vital member of the Southern Regional Extension Forestry Office whose purpose is to implement both educational and technical services to increase the efficiency of forestry programs and land use in the southern United States. He acts as a liaison to coordinate efforts between the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana State Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the United States Department of Agriculture to improve cooperation between departmental extension programs and private enterprise ventures.
Kilpatrick possesses an innate ability to evaluate the biodiversity of a stand of trees, to identify its economic assets and liabilities, to approximate its market value, to appreciate its aesthetic beauty and to surmise its environmental health and sustainability.
Reared in Ouachita Parish, Kilpatrick graduated from West Monroe High School and matriculated to Louisiana State University to earn a B.A. in Forestry and later to earn a master’s degree from the University of Georgia. In his youth, he was involved in 4-H shows, animal husbandry, forestry environments and wildlife studies and he continues today as a 4-H educator.
Kilpatrick and his wife, Cindy, teach conservation, agricultural awareness and 4-H education through youth-targeted field days and career fairs and educate adults and youth about the environment and how Urban Forestry Reforestation can improve air and water quality within the community.
Kilpatrick has received numerous honors that include the 2015 National Extension Forester of the Year awarded by the National Forest Landowners Association and the 2007 Project Learning Tree Gold Star Award for his promotion of educational activities in natural resources conservation and environmental literacy with hands-on student participation on local forested lands.
Kilpatrick has upheld the best principles of renewable resources management; his collaboration with private and public entities and his coordination of activities that involve economic development, bioenergy opportunities, wildlife protection, water management, forestry certification, property rights and conservation have contributed to effective timber harvesting and the production of wood-related endproducts.
He has witnessed extraordinary new technologies and remedies that have increased the efficiency of timber production in North Louisiana.
The Kilpatricks were presented a guided fishing package through Grenada Lake Charters.
The invitation to the retirement party read: And the wind said “May you be as strong as the oak, yet flexible as the birch; may you stand tall as the redwood, live gracefully as the willow; and may you always bear fruit all your days on the earth.”