William Henry Brener
Inducted November 3, 1995
Professional forester and leader in Wisconsin forestry, William Brener dedicated 41 years of distinguished service to Wisconsin’s forest resource. Beginning a career as forester for the Wisconsin Conservation Department in 1931, he served as Nursery Supervisor at Griffith State Nursery and as Chief of the State Nursery Program for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He is credited with the establishment and development of more than seven state nurseries which provided 900 million tree seedlings for reforestation of forest land in Wisconsin. Mr. Brener’s legacy lies in the current State Nursery Program instrumental in the ongoing reforestation of Wisconsin.
More about William Henry Brener:
Mr. Brener’s major accomplishments in ublic forestry were in forest nursery production, forest genetics, forestry research, and forest post management. After graduation from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry he began a 41 year career with the Wisconsin Conservation Department and the Department of Natural Resources as a land inventory assistant in 1930. In 1932 he went to Wisconsin Rapids to start what is now known as the Griffith State Nursery. In addition to the nursery project, he was superintendent of the Petenwell Civilian Conservation Corporation Camp.
The Trout Lake State Nursery was the only state operated nursery in Wisconsin prior to the establishment of the Central Wisconsin Nursery. His innovations changed tree nursery production from a labor intensive operation to a mechanized operation. As the demand for nursery stock to reforest the cutover/burned-over lands of the state, Mr. Brener was charged with establishing and coordinating production at seven nurseries throughout the state and was appointed Chief of the State Nursery Program. During his career, he was responsible for the production of 905,316,712 trees and shrubs from state nurseries for reforestation efforts.
Mr. Brener is credited with initiating many programs which are in existence today. Among them are: The Wisconsin Tree Improvement Program, establishing seed collection zones, establishing a nursery stock distribution system, and initiating cost control studies and reporting. Mr. Brener is also responsible for the development of mechanical, chemical and cultural procedures in nursery production. In addition to this, William H. Brener helped develop state policy regulating the sale and use of nursery stock. He developed a partnership with the University of Wisconsin to improve forestry research, and cooperated with the Department of Agriculture in developing statutory language regulating wood plant seeds.
The work of Mr. Brener also included close cooperation with UW scientists on many projects, and the co-authoring of numerous research reports, including Dr. Wilde’s work on nursery soil management. He was also a career long member of the Society of American Foresters, and four nursery organizations.