Fred B. Trenk
(1900 – 1969)
Inducted September 27, 1985
In recognition of 30 years (1931-1961) of dedicated service to the state and region as University of Wisconsin extension Forester. A crusading educator and practitioner, his vision and work helped enrich impoverished forest acres and human lives. He pioneered in implementing the first rural and forest county zoning ordinances, designing the mechanical tree planting machine, promoting the establishment of school and community forests and in establishing a statewide network of demonstration forests. Through his effective educational programs he inspired people to manage and wisely use forest resources.
More about Fred B. Trenk:
Fred B. Trenk received his Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from Iowa State College and two years later received a master’s degree in botany from the same institution. He was named extension forester at the University of Wisconsin in 1931. For thirty years he crusaded for improved forests, and today the state is moving steadily and strongly in the direction he led.
In 1942, Fred Trenk recognized that if reforestation was to continue in Wisconsin, tree planting would have to be mechanized. As a result of his promotion of this philosophy, mechanical tree-planters were designed, constructed, and put into use to continue the reforestation program. In Wisconsin’s reforestation program, 16 million to 18 million trees are mechanically planted annually and the machine, in essentially its original form, is in world wide use. During Fred Trenk’s lifetime, he pointed out that managed farm woodlands could bring their owners income to about the same rate per hour as they could get from regular farm operations.
In 1949, he received a Superior Service Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for “exceptional ability and ingenuity in conducting effective educational programs in connection with farm forestry and related land use problems.” He was a member of a number of societies including Alpha Zeta, Phi Kappa Phi, Society of American Foresters, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Science, and Letters. He authored a number of publications on forest windbreaks, mechanical tree planters, timber harvest tracts, farm woodland forestry, and forest tax laws.