Brown County’s Dave Seastrom is the new president of the Indiana Forest Alliance board of directors.
A leading force in the fight against logging in Yellowwood State Forest, Seastrom and his wife Becky Stapf live directly adjacent to the forest in a house he built with his own hands.
Other officers for 2020-2021 are: vice president Elizabeth Mahoney, an Indianapolis resident who served four years as president; secretary Curt Mayfield of Nashville; and treasurer Jeff Marks of Poland.
Seastrom is retired from a lifetime of self-employment that included careers in manufacturing jewelry, owning and driving a school bus, and various positions in construction, culminating in being a house builder. His wife Becky is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and is an accomplished actress in the local community theater scene.
They share their house with two rescue dogs, Wilson and Max, have a flock of chickens and share the forest with a resident group of rattlesnakes that keep them on their toes.
We recently interviewed Seastrom and here’s what he had to say about IFA’s past, present and future as the organization heads into its 25th year.
When did you first become involved with IFA and what inspired you to get started?
I’ve lived in Brown County for 44 years and during that time I’ve seen a lot of logging. I became alarmed about 16 years ago when I saw the practices instituted by the then new director of the Division of Forestry, Jack Seifert. It was then that I started paying attention and shortly after that I became involved in the fight for forest preservation which eventually led me to the Indiana Forest Alliance.
How long have you been on the IFA board and what’s your proudest moment as an IFA member?
I was asked to join the board about 16 months ago to fill out the term of a board member who resigned, and I was elected to my own seat during last year’s annual membership meeting. So far, the proudest moment as an IFA member was during the Save Yellowwood protests that galvanized hundreds of Hoosiers to attend a Rally at the Statehouse, the Yellowwood timber sale protest, and to write countless letters to Governor Holcomb asking him to reverse the outcome of the sale.
What do you see as IFA’s biggest issues moving forward?
We have a wide and varied agenda, but perhaps our biggest issue is the ongoing need for funds to continue our programs. We’re using peer-reviewed science to build the case that public forests are usually best managed by leaving them alone, and the studies that prove this are expensive to conduct.
What is it about Indiana’s forests that inspire you?
As I mentioned, my wife and I live in the forest, and I feel an obligation to protect this ecosystem I’ve come to love and respect. I’m fortunate to be in a time of life when I can devote myself to this pursuit, and it’s my great privilege to serve as president of the board of directors.