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Who is Allen D. Nease?


Many schools throughout our country are named after the area or region in which they are located. In St. Johns County, we have Bartram Trail High School, Pine Island Academy, Tocoi Creek High School, Patriot Oaks Academy, and Ponte Vedra High School to name a few. This then begs the question- “who was Allen D. Nease and why is our school named after him?”
Allen Dowling Nease was born February 1st, 1913, in Duval County, Florida.
Allen Nease was known as Florida's "Johnny Pine Nut." As a young man in the 1940s, he was the first county forester hired by the state of Florida. During that time - in an effort to counter rampant deforestation from over harvesting pine timber - he is credited with planting 55 million pine trees from Pensacola to St. Augustine. In 1936, he got his degree in forestry from North Carolina State University and went to work with the U.S. Forest Service in the Apalachicola National Forest and learned his trade. During World War II he ran a prisoner of war camp in Georgia for two years before coming to Florida.
He eventually moved to St. Johns County to manage "17,000 acres of overcut, overworked timberland with no reforestation program." It was also during this time that he was elected to the St. Johns County School Board, where he served the community for 24 years. Throughout it all, he continued his conservation efforts on his personal land holdings. In 1955, he organized the St. Johns County Timber Growers Association and served as its president for 29 years until his death in 1984. He was instrumental in supporting construction of the St. Augustine Technical Center in 1958 and helped locate and acquire land for the construction of St. Johns River State College. In August 1980, Allen D. Nease High School was opened in northern St. Johns County. The land for the high school had been cattle land held in his family for years. It was after his death that the land for the park was acquired by the county and funds obtained through the Florida Communities Trust to preserve it as a public park.