During Al’s career he influenced forest policy in Wisconsin. He was a key member of the advisory group selected to set the priorities for the initial, and subsequent processes of the Wisconsin Forest Practice Study. In addition, he was an original member of the strategic guidance team that finalized the modification in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry’s Silvicultural Handbook.
Al planned and executed educational resources in the Ray Kretz Industrial Forest near Antigo, WI. This demonstration forest includes an interpretive hiking trail, which demonstrates various forestry practices throughout the property
Al conceived and organized the Kretz Family Forest community. The Kretz Family Forest community consists of forestland owners that work with one of Kretz Lumber Company’s professional foresters to develop and implement a forest management plan for their forestland. This program, and others like it around the state, have been an important step for sustainable forestry.
To complement the Ray Kretz Industrial Forest, Al developed and organized the Kretz Forestry Field Day, a biennial event that started in 1998. The idea was to invite the many forest landowners that sell their timber to Kretz Lumber Company. Since its inception, the Kretz Forestry Field Day has grown to include many guest speakers, exhibitions, learning stations, forestry tours, and mill tours – all with a focus on forest management.
In addition to working with youth and public forestry education, Al has been involved with teaching forestry majors as the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Every year, students studying forestry and forest operations meet with Al to learn about industrial forestry. Al would take the time to meet students at an active harvest sight to discuss the forest harvest and how the logger was putting that plan into action.
The summary statement on the Forestry Hall of Fame plaque reads: Al Koeppel l has always been passionate about forest management, doing what was best for the forest, and managing for the landowner’s goals. His example as a life long learner and teacher makes him a model for new foresters to learn from and emulate.
The Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame is located in the College of Natural Resources at The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in the Dan Trainor Building. It is open during regular school hours. Members of the 10 member organizations of the Forestry Hall of Fame select new inductees as are nominated each year.
The 10 member organizations of the Forestry Hall of Fame are: The Wisconsin Forest History Association, The Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee, The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, The Wisconsin Society of American Foresters, The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry, The Wisconsin County Forest Association, The U.S. Forest Service, The Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, The University of Wisconsin – Madison, and The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.