Madison County landowners recognized for excellence in land management 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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For immediate release: Feb. 21, 2023
Media contacts: Carli Segelson, 772-215-9459 or
                          Ryan Sheets, 727-282-7642, or 

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Suggested Tweet: Madison County couple presented #Florida Land Steward 2023 Landowner of the Year award at @MyFWC Commission meeting: #FWC2023

 landowners of the year Mathenys

Madison County landowners recognized for excellence in land management 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recognized landowners Danna and Stephen Matheny with the Florida Land Steward 2023 Landowner of the Year award. The couple was honored for their outstanding efforts to manage their 90 acres of pasture, planted longleaf and natural longleaf forest in Madison County.

The Matheny’s property, which has been in the family for generations, is primarily longleaf pine habitat that supports native plants and a variety of wildlife including gopher tortoises, bobwhite quails, pileated woodpeckers, bluebirds, foxes and many other species.

Working with the Florida Forest Service, the FWC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Matheny’s goal is restoring the upland habitat on the property. They continue to implement their Forest Stewardship Plan for the property and have been recognized by the FWC’s Wildlife Habitat Recognition Program for their efforts to manage the land to benefit native wildlife.

Stephen Matheny conducts a variety of land management activities including prescribed burns, hardwood control, selective harvest of mature pine and mowing – most of which he does on his own.

“I recall my grandfather teaching me when I was young, to leave some dead trees standing for the woodpeckers, flying squirrels and bluebirds. I want my children to appreciate the importance of all the different species that depend on this habitat to survive,” said Stephen Matheny. “I hope they continue what I have taught them and are good stewards of the property for years to come."

The Florida Land Steward program is a partnership that focuses resources available to private landowners conserving their lands for wildlife, with partners that include the FWC, Florida Forest Service, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

To show support for Florida’s private landowners, the Florida Land Steward Partnership annually recognizes the “Landowner of the Year,” a private landowner who goes above and beyond managing their property with highly commendable land stewardship. 

Learn how the FWC partners with private landowners at Find out about workshops and other resources for private landowners at

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