Wayne Alexander inherited his first 398 acres of land when he was 21 years old. His father purchased the 398 acres in the 1940s to raise cattle in East Texas and Northwest Louisiana. When Wayne inherited the land, he started planting forests.
Over the years Wayne and his wife Jennie have grown the family forest to 1,238 acres on six tracts named Three Pines Plantation, Birdsong, Lizzie Burns, Oaklawn, Stirling and Sligo Plantations. Wayne and Jennie have passed down to their children and grandchildren the importance good stewardship plays in keeping forests healthy and being able to pass forests down to future generations.
“The land was not given to us by our parents, it was loaned to us by our children.”
Wayne is not only a good steward of the land, but he has also actively involved his children and grandchildren in learning about the land and why it is important to take care of it. The grandchildren love visiting the land because each tract has different aged stands bearing a grandchild's name. The grandchildren love spending time watching their forests grow with Wayne whom they endearingly refer to as "Papa Joe".
Wayne and Jennie who have three children and seven grandchildren (with an eighth one on the way!) share a special tradition of photographing their family alongside their proud trees. Granddaughters Haley and Katy have taken photos with their tree on Haley’s 100 at Birdsong every year since 2001.
“It has been a wonderful blessing in our lives to watch our children, and now grandchildren, grow right along with the pines.”
"Papa Joe", Haley, and Katy with their tree in 2004
"Papa Joe", Haley, and Katy with their tree in 2006
"Papa Joe", Haley and Katy with their tree in 2013
“Over the years I was able to build this 398 acres into 1,238 acres on six different tracts. Still not a lot compared to many landowners, but I am very proud of doing this. In 1998 we built a small cabin on what I call Three Pines Plantation. We have three children, hence the name. I had symbolically left three large pine trees in front of the cabin, until I was present at the cabin for an ice storm. I had no idea how far a pine can bend over a cabin when weighted down by ice. Thankfully, those three pines did not snap, but they didn't live much longer either. But the name Three Pines stays, and it has been a wonderful blessing in our lives to watch our children, and now grandchildren, grow right along with the pines.”