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In Memoriam: Tom Erdman: A Life In Penn’s Woods

By Dick Thorr, President, Northwest Pennsylvania Woodland Association

This article first appeared in the Summer 2022 Foundation for Sustainable Forests newsletter--

The Foundation for Sustainable Forests is saddened by the loss of Tom Erdman. Tom passed away unexpectedly on June 6, 2022.

Tom worked for the PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry for 38 years, retiring from the position as Erie County Service Forester in 2016.

Tom was a founding member of the Northwest Pennsylvania Woodland Association (NWPWA), a great promoter, an active board member, and served as President after his retirement.

He worked within NWPWA guiding its direction, setting up and participating in programs and woods walks.

With the belief that there is always more to learn for himself and others how to care for our woods.

Some achievements Tom was proud of included: working with Envirothon students and teaching them about forestry and preparing them for competition; tree planting projects with the Boy Scouts and others; his woods and how much he enjoyed working in it and im- proving it; being a lifetime blood donor; working to contain forest fires while on the firefighting crew; walking with landowners and teaching them and having an impact on them and their forests.

While listening to other landowners that have worked with Tom it is clear what a profound impact he has had on us and our communities.

Because of his knowledge and guidance, we have developed an appreciation for the woods, how it works, how to care for it, an interest in learning more, and the enjoyment that comes from working in our woods and sharing our experiences with others.

The benefits of his lifelong work will continue long into the future.

Tom understood the importance of sweat equity to ensure that our forests could thrive now and in the future.

Anyone who walked in the woods with Tom knew that his commanding presence came from a place of experience and passion for his work.

Tom enjoyed hunting and fishing. He had a well known love/hate relationship with deer. He enjoyed seeing them and hunting them, but hated that they are in direct conflict with his work as a forester, and all the extra work (sometimes unsuccessfully) it took to keep them from eating everything we are trying to grow.

“Those damn deer,” was a common refrain of Tom’s.

Tom spoke often of his family and how much he enjoyed spending time with them. He will be missed by them and all of us who have known him.

“Tom was a longtime member and friend to FSF who played a significant role in the growth of our organization His initial introductions between FSF and landowners have led to some of our most significant land conservation projects,” said Guy Dunkle.

“He understood that the labor and care that an owner put into her land was only as significant as the plan to carry that stewardship forward into future generations. He will be deeply missed.”

For more information on programs, initiatives and upcoming events, visit the Foundation For Sustainable Forests website. Click Here to sign up for updates (top of page).  Click Here to support their work.

(Reprinted from the Summer 2022 Foundation for Sustainable Forests newsletter.   Click Here to sign up for updates (top of page).)

Related Article:

-- Foundation For Sustainable Forests Loving The Land: Craig & Monica Schwegman Tell Their Story From Erie County

[Posted: August 1, 2022]


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