The Society of American Foresters recognizes excellence and outstanding achievements of individuals and organizations in the field of forestry and natural resources.

Each year, through its national, Presidential Field Forester, and Fellow awards, SAF honors scientists, researchers, educators, innovators, leaders, communicators, field foresters, and others that have made significant impact on forestry in the United States and internationally. 

We also recognize our Student Diversity Scholars and Gregory Award winners.

SAF is pleased to recognize our 2021 award winners. 

National Awards

Barrington Moore Memorial Award in Biological Science — Linda Nagel
Carl Alwin Schenck Award — I-Kuai Hung
Diversity Leadership Award — Joann Cox
Employer Leadership Award — Virginia Cooperative Extension
Gifford Pinchot Medal — Robert Kellison
John A Beale Memorial Award — Thomas Catchpole, CF
Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award — Victor Harris
Outstanding Local unit Achievement Award — Snake River Chapter
Student Leadership Award — Trish Nelson
Technology Transfer Award — Adam Downing
W. D. Hagenstein Communicator Award — Jennifer Gagnon
Young Forester Leadership Award — Rebecca Barnard

Barrington Moore Memorial Award in Biological Science

Linda Nagel

Recognizes outstanding achievement in biological research leading to the advancement of forestry.
Linda Nagel, Courtney Peterson, and Maria Janowiak visit the Petawawa Research Forest, Ontario Canada, an Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Network site.A long-time SAF member, Linda Nagel is professor and head for the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department at Colorado State University. As an educator, professor, university administrator, and scientist, she epitomizes the best the profession can offer in silviculture research, the delivery of science into the hands of students and practitioners, and in forging effective partnerships, reflecting a global impact for managing and conserving our forest resources for the future.

Throughout her career, Linda has engaged deeply in silviculture as both science and practice, always working to expand perspectives. In the mid-2000s, thinking about how to manage forests in the face of climate change was very much in its infancy and many barriers inhibited these conversations. Linda’s foresight, leadership, and role as primary investigator led to the creation of the International Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Network, one of the most innovative and ambitious silvicultural networks created in decades.

Linda is an outstanding scientist, educator, forester, mentor, and colleague who serves as an excellent resource and role model to scientists and professionals alike. She has the rare ability to communicate scientific ideas and engage people in the process of using those ideas to improve forest management, especially in field settings. She brings core science ideas to life for people with a passion for forestry.
Dr. Nagel is the most innovative, forward-thinking leader I know in the forestry profession. Her research and leadership provide invaluable contributions to the forestry field and to SAF. She is an inspiration for women who aspire to work in forest science and forest management fields, constantly teaching, growing, and mentoring future forest stewards. – Courtney Peterson
A few words from Linda Nagel:
Linda Nagel and a Nothofagus tree on a field tour as part of an International Union of Forest Resource Organizations uneven-aged silviculture meeting in Valdivia, Chile.Receiving the Barrington Moore Memorial Award is an honor of a lifetime. I have always been motivated to conduct research on applied forestry questions to provide relevant, scientifically grounded information that guides sound management decisions in our rapidly changing world. I have been afforded incredible opportunities during my academic career and have worked with many inspiring people. I continually learn from amazing mentors, foresters, students, and colleagues, and greatly value the collaborations and networks I’ve become part of the past 20+ years. It is gratifying beyond measure to see the research, education, and outreach work I’ve done with scientist and manager partners having a significant and lasting impact on the ways we think about forestry in the face of climate change. 

Since I became a member of SAF as a graduate student, I have been watching with deep admiration the esteemed scientists and professors receiving this award – I could not have imagined one day I would receive a national SAF award. To be considered by my colleagues to embody the qualities that the Barrington Moore Award represents is truly humbling. Mr. Moore was not only a keen and innovative scientist, but he also dared to push forward the boundaries of forest ecology and silvicultural principles, tackling the most complex issues of the day. It is an honor to be part of a group that thinks and leads our profession in such a forward-looking and collaborative way.

Top Photo: Linda Nagel, Courtney Peterson, and Maria Janowiak visit the Petawawa Research Forest, Ontario Canada, an Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change Network site.
Bottom Photo: Linda Nagel and a Nothofagus tree on a field tour as part of an International Union of Forest Resource Organizations uneven-aged silviculture meeting in Valdivia, Chile.

Carl Alwin Schenck Award

I-Kuai Hung

Recognizes devotion and demonstrated outstanding performance in the field of forestry education.
Dr. Hung conducts a field exercise in front of the Forestry Building at Stephen F. Austin State University. I-Kuai Hung is a Robert E. Minton distinguished professor of geospatial sciences in the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University.

I-Kuai is a dedicated professor and teaches varied GIS courses ranging from GIS in Natural Resources to Mobile and Field GIS that develops the foundational skills for application in forestry, environmental science, and spatial science. At summer Forestry Field Station, he collaborates with two other professors to develop a problem for students to solve using GIS, GPS, and UAS (Unmanned Aerial System or drones).

His teaching methods have been described as innovative, patient, practical, creative, and accessible. He excels as an educator through his ability to explain complex, technical information in a clear and precise manner so students not only understand the material but can apply it to other situations to solve real-world problems. As a caring mentor to many, he encourages students to be patient, do over, and try. 

I-Kuai knows that the rigor of spatial science needs to be tied to the relevant and current knowledge and skill sets that capture the imagination and enthusiasm of the 21st century forestry and spatial science student. As a teacher, he never stops questioning and always strives for the best of those in his trust, making him an inspiration to his students and colleagues.
Teaching is the art of our profession. Dr. Hung paints his canvas with many colors that reach out like ripples from a pond—and these ripples intersect to both stimulate and encourage others to wonder and ask the question: Can I do that? I am lucky to work with a colleague that cares and mentors those he teaches and educates. — David Kulhavy
A few words from I-Kuai Hung:
Dr. Hung poses with his colleagues, the Drone Squad, at Stephen F. Austin State University.Going to college, I chose forestry as my major because I wanted to be out with nature. I thought I would be working with trees, other than people, which I found more complicated back then. Trees don’t talk back, and trees don’t get emotional. However, life showed me something different. 

I was assigned a position where I managed a forest recreation area in Taiwan visited by a million people annually. It turned out I spent most of my time at work dealing with people other than trees. That led me to realize that people are the most important component in an organization and the most valuable resource in our society. 

As my career developed, I discovered the most rewarding job I can possibly get—teaching. Today, it is my students and my colleagues who keep me moving forward. I would feel guilty if I don’t work as hard as my students and my colleagues. I would find myself unease if I don’t deliver the best my students deserve. In forestry we plan for decades; in education we plan for centuries. Although it might take a very long time before witnessing the outcome, we still have to plant each seed with great care and patience. We are growing people. Receiving the Carl Alwin Schenck Award is a reminder to me about the impact I might have on my students.

To hear more from I-Kuai Hung, watch his video here.

Top Photo: Dr. Hung conducts a field exercise in front of the Forestry Building at Stephen F. Austin State University. 
Bottom Photo: Dr. Hung poses with his colleagues, the Drone Squad, at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Diversity Leadership Award

Joann Cox

Recognizes outstanding individual achievement leading to innovative and exemplary diversity and inclusion efforts.
Joann Cox vintage: An “early” in the career photo of JoannJoann Cox is an active member and leader in SAF since she joined in 1976 and has consistently displayed the ability, talent, skill, and fortitude to lead and exemplify diversity and inclusion in her professional life. Cox, principal of Meyer-Cox Forestry Consultants, LLC, has served as an SAF president and council member and is an active member of the Appalachian SAF. Some of her unheralded actions set the tone and pioneered ways for women to come together in support of one another in their careers and transitions. 

Joann has always sought and benefitted from mentors, and she has paid this forward a thousand times. Her mentorship is both direct and indirect, always offering her time to young professionals from all backgrounds. She champions fair treatment and inclusion at all levels, and she seeks to ensure all people have a seat and voice at the table. 

Her commitment, drive, and impact on diversity and inclusion is overwhelming and has positioned her in the eyes of her peers as one of the most important leaders in our profession in a generation. Joann is well known for encouraging all to be courageous with passion, but her actions are so loud, she need not tell them at all.
Joann has been a pioneer and an educator for diversity, equity, and inclusion her entire career, and her perseverance has paved the way for thousands. – Sam Cook
A few words from Joann Cox:
Joann Cox-diversity leadership awardI would like to share the story of Tom Davidson’s effort to contact me about becoming a national award recipient. The month of June was spent RVing out west visiting various national forests and parks, as well as state parks, some off the beaten path. We were off the grid enjoying our stay at Caprock Canyon State Park near Quitaque, Texas (highly recommend a visit if you haven’t done so already). As we traveled to our next destination and got back into cell coverage, I had several voice messages from Tom expressing the need to please call “at my earliest convenience.” Honestly, it never crossed my mind about what this might be about. After setting up camp near Edmund, Oklahoma, I called Tom. I was overwhelmed with emotion by Tom’s news that I was the recipient of the Society of American Forester’s Diversity Leadership award for 2021.   

My lifelong passion and commitment to advance our profession and leverage the richness of the diversity found within SAF began at Texas A&M University during my undergraduate forestry education. It continued throughout my career at my different forest product industries positions and is unrelenting with my SAF involvement at the international, national, state society, division, and chapter levels. Our professional community must continuously strive to embrace diversity and demonstrate inclusiveness. It is with great joy, honor, and humbleness to accept the 2021 SAF’s Diversity Leadership award. 

Photos: Joann shown early in her career and now.

Employer Leadership Award

Virginia Cooperative Extension

Recognizes an employer that demonstrates leadership through consistent support of employee participation in SAF and broad engagement in the profession.
The first three VCE district Extension foresters--Dan Goerlich, Jim Willis, and Adam Downing (l-r) -- collaborate on project management (circa 2003).Virginia Cooperative Extension’s (VCE) administrative leadership team ensures that financial resources and work time are available for Extension foresters to pursue leadership and service through involvement with SAF.

Institutional support for professional association involvement in general was formalized in 2013, and employees are highly encouraged and even evaluated on involvement in professional societies. The organization champions SAF in many ways, from administrative engagement and involvement to time and resources to support professional development. 

VCE foresters rely on SAF conferences and publications for their own professional development, thereby supporting the organization through membership dues and conference registrations. Further, their involvement with forestry education and infrastructure (vehicles, computer systems, and software) and skills with event planning dovetail nicely with the need for SAF meetings from the chapter to state society scale.

VCE employees consistently fill SAF leadership roles at the chapter, division, and society level. One hundred percent of the VCE Forestry team has served as chair of their SAF chapter, in addition to filling other important committee roles. To be an SAF member and leader is standard practice for VCE foresters. This does not happen without the steadfast support of their employer.
I am convinced that in Virginia, an enormous component of SAF’s presence and productivity is directly due to employer support from VCE and they are fully deserving of the Employer Leadership Award. – Neil Clark, VCE Extension Agent
A few words from Lonnie Johnson, Associate Director for Field Operations and Administration, Virginia Cooperative Extension
VCE SW District Extension forester Bill Worrell (l) discusses tree growth with an educational program participant.The Virginia Cooperative Extension administrative team thanks the Society of American Foresters for this prestigious recognition. For over two decades there has been strong involvement among our Forestry and Natural Resources Extension agents, associates, and specialists with the Society. The work that our faculty do and the support that they receive from SAF is extremely valuable to the forestry community in Virginia. Membership in SAF provides our faculty with leadership opportunities, continuing education, and a professional network. Many SAF members have become volunteers in VCE educational programs, helping to deliver high quality information to forest landowners, loggers, youth, natural resource professionals, and the general public.  

Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Society of American Foresters have complementary missions to include grounding in science, delivering research-based information, and advancing the sustainable management of forest resources through educational opportunities that improve economic, environmental, and social well-being. The partnership between VCE and SAF is synergistic, mutually beneficial, and growing. We are happy to support the involvement of our Extension agents, associates, and specialists in SAF, and thank you again for this honor.

To hear more from Virginia Cooperative Extension, watch their video here.

Top Photo: The first three VCE district Extension foresters--Dan Goerlich, Jim Willis, and Adam Downing (l-r) -- collaborate on project management (circa 2003).
Bottom Photo: VCE SW District Extension forester Bill Worrell (l) discusses tree growth with an educational program participant.

Gifford Pinchot Medal

Robert Kellison

Recognizes outstanding contributions by a forestry professional in the administration, practice, and professional development of North American Forestry.
Bob Kellison inspecting second-growth hardwood stand in West VirginiaRobert Kellison’s forestry career has included many incredible roles, including as a forest superintendent of the University of West Virginia’s forests, a tree improvement specialist with the New Zealand Forest Service, founder/director of NC State’s Hardwood Research Cooperative, a leader of all NC State Cooperatives, senior research positions with major forest products companies (Champion and International Paper), and founding president of the Institute of Forest Biotechnology. He has also served as a committee chair/senior advisor to 54 PhD and master’s students and has authored and co-authored hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. 

Since he began his professional forestry career in 1959, Robert has been a prime source of technical information and professional guidance concerning tree breeding and forest management, at first in the southeastern US and eventually worldwide. His depth of forestry knowledge is without peer. He has traveled and worked in every forested region of the nation as well as in more than 40 other countries and carries an in-depth understanding and view of the nation’s and world’s forests, their management, and condition. 

One of the most respected forestry professionals on plantation forestry, forest improvement and genetics, his influence is further felt through the contributions of the many graduate students who have worked with him. He fits the Gifford Pinchot model of knowledgeable practitioner, wise teacher, and vigorous disseminator of the practice of both traditional and modern forest science.
Bob Kellison has been a fixture in forestry for more than a half century. While he has a keen sense of humor, everything he does – each paper he writes, each presentation he gives, any advice or suggestion – is rooted in deeply researched and reviewed study founded on decades of hands-on experience. – Carlton Owen
A few words from Robert Kellison:
Bob Kellison obtaining wood samples from sweetgumI am humbled by the Gifford Pinchot Medal being awarded to me for the biennial year of 2021. The reason for the humbleness is that so many other SAF members were equally qualified to receive the award as I was. I can only hope that their wants and qualifications will be met in future years.

I have so many people to thank for my achievements, including my parents and siblings, teachers at the grade-school, high-school and college levels and the U.S. Navy, which qualified me for the G.I. Bill of Rights that led to my college education.

Many people had a significant impact on my professional career, but two stand out: Dr. Gus Tyron, West Virginia University, and Dr. Bruce Zobel, North Carolina State University. Thanks also goes to the person that nominated me for the award and for the panel that spent countless hours in preparing documents that contributed to me being selected. But most of all I am thankful for my wife, Larita, who kept the home-fires burning during my extensive travels. That includes nurturing our two children who themselves have acceded to prominent professional careers. Life has been good to me and receiving the Gifford Pinchot Medal is the culmination of that fact. Thanks to everyone that has been a part of my life.

Top Photo: Bob Kellison inspecting second-growth hardwood stand in West Virginia.
Bottom Photo: Bob obtaining wood samples from sweetgum.

John A. Beale Memorial Award

Thomas Catchpole, CF

Recognizes outstanding efforts over a sustained period by an SAF member in the promotion of forestry through voluntary service to the Society.
Thomas Catchpole 2018 FIT HSUThomas Catchpole, CF, a member of the California SAF, has contributed hundreds of volunteer days to forestry education efforts aimed at students, teachers, youth groups, and the local community at both the SAF local and state levels for over 40 years.

He has provided continuous support to SAF while carrying out a full career as a field forester with the US Forest Service and into retirement. As a member of Cal SAF’s Education Committee since 1980, he helped develop the Forest Conservation Days program, serves as a core team and staff member of the Forestry Institute for Teachers, trains trail guides, provides logistical support to volunteers, prepares teacher packets, and helps with fundraising. 

Since his 2002 retirement, Tom has served as a substitute teacher working with the Sierra Unified School District. In addition to covering the assigned curriculum material, he very often, to the delight of the students, adds fascinating presentations about wood products and forest ecology. He is also a writer for the local Mountain Press newspaper.

Thank you, Tom, for your great spirit, exuberance, sustained leadership, and selfless labor in implementing and promoting forestry education. 
I cannot imagine another person being able to fill this man’s shoes with the enthusiasm and endless dedication to forestry and education. I am humbled by his spirit and the contributions he has made to our profession. – Kent Kinney
A few words from Thomas Catchpole:
Thomas W Catchpole Chapter Con Day 2017I would like to thank Julie Lydick for nominating me for the John A. Beale Memorial Award, and SAF friends who wrote letters of recommendations. When I was 12 years old my mother said that I was overactive. She wanted me to get into some activity that would keep me busy. We had a family dairy farmer friend, Dan King, that had a farm on Mt. Washington in the hills above Bath, New York. Dan was a 4-H leader of the Mount Washington Stump Jumpers.

Dan was a great leader and gave good advice. He recommended forestry and conservation projects. I planted trees on my uncle’s land until all of his land was planted. At 16 I bought an old 16-acre farm for tree planting and wood lot management. I participated in the Know Your Trees and Know Your Woods project, garden projects, won awards at fairs, and won the National 4-H Forestry Award in 1964. 

I taught tree identification classes and conservation at 4-H Camp when I was 12 years old. I went to 4-H Conservation Camp Arnot run by Cornell University for three years and was a counselor for a summer. Four Cornell 4-H Extension foresters took me under their wings and encouraged me to go to the SUNY NYS Ranger School at Wanakena, NY, and SUNY College of Forestry of Forestry at Syracuse, NY.
Foresters encouraged me to become a forester. These foresters are no longer with us, but for over 51 years I have taught forest conservation to honor those that taught me.

To hear more from Thomas Catchpole, CF, watch his video here.

Photos: Thomas Catchpole educating at various educational events.

Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award

Victor Harris

Recognizes high quality journalism that increase the American public’s understanding of forestry and natural resources.
Victor serves as a moderator on an agroforestry economics workshop panel.Thirty-six years ago, Victor became the first black forester in the history of the Virginia Department of Forestry. As part of his work, he assisted with outreach efforts. This was the beginning of his education on the challenges affecting minorities within the forestry and natural resources profession, and challenges facing minority farmers and landowners.

While attending a conference he met a group of mostly African American farmers and forest landowners. After learning about their challenges and obstacles, Victor was inspired to start Minority Landowner magazine as a national platform to elevate minority landowners and to recognize and celebrate their journeys.

As editor and publisher of Minority Landowner magazine, established in 2005, he provides information on people, places, programs, and events that helps minority landowners improve productivity, increase profitability, and maintain ownership of their land.

Victor works with minority landowners through various partnerships to feature landowners who are engaged in resolving problems to provide a blueprint to foresters, farmers, and ranchers to follow and help landowners improve the care, management, and conservation of their land.

The initiative, leadership, minority engagement, and national partnership and outreach efforts that have characterized Victor’s career and personal passion make him a deserving award winner. 
Victor’s ability to enhance relationships, inform, and strengthen minority stakeholders across the country is worthy of national recognition. – Appalachian SAF Executive Committee
A few words from Victor Harris:
Victor Harris providing remarks at the National Association of State Foresters annual meeting.Thank you to the Society of American Foresters for selecting me as the Outstanding Forestry Journalism Award recipient for 2021. I am honored.

This is our 15th year publishing Minority Landowner. Interestingly, I’ve never really thought of myself as a journalist. When I’m invited to speak, or when I’m being introduced, I still think of myself as a forester first. However, like journalists, foresters spend quite a bit of time telling a story.

You tell the story of the forest. How forests produce and clean the air we breathe, provide wildlife habitat, and recreation. You tell the story of tree leaves, forest litter, and roots, and how they help protect the soil, prevent erosion, and support clean water. You tell the story of the many products made of trees; how trees help fight climate change; how forests are the foundation of many local economies. You tell the story of how foresters were one of the first conservationists and environmentalists. 

There is one more story I want to tell. And that is the story of the late Dr. B.D. Mayberry. Dr. Mayberry was the dean of the College of Agriculture at Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in 1968 when he persuaded the US Forest Service to help establish a pre-forestry program at Tuskegee. This successful partnership made Tuskegee the first Historically Black College or University to have a forestry program. Tuskegee became the leading producer of Black foresters in the country. I am a product of that program. 

There is a cash award that comes with this SAF recognition. I am donating mine to Tuskegee University to help my fellow alumni fulfill the Dr. B.D. Mayberry Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship will help students pursue and fulfill their dreams, and one day tell their own stories about life, about Mother Tuskegee, and about forestry.

To hear more from Victor Harris, watch his video here.

Top Photo: Victor serves as a moderator on an agroforestry economics workshop panel.
Bottom Photo: Victor Harris providing remarks at the National Association of State Foresters annual meeting.

Outstanding Local Unit Achievement Award

Snake River Chapter

Recognizes the outstanding achievement of a local unit for sustained leadership or a special project benefiting SAF, the forestry profession, and the practice of forestry.
The Snake River Chapter supports the Forestry Day at the Idaho Legislature Luncheon.The Snake River Chapter (SRC) of Intermountain SAF has been recognized for their sustained leadership and providing outstanding value to members.

For over 50 years, SRC has been a leader in advocating the importance of sustainable forestry practices in southern Idaho. The chapter hosts an annual Forestry Day at the Idaho Legislature, bringing together legislators, industry representatives, land managers, and academics to discuss relevant challenges for the forestry sector and legislative solutions, while highlighting the importance of the forestry sector to Idaho’s economy. 

Chapter members have led the development of several regional position statements, provided testimony in Washington, DC, and shared successes with other collaborative groups across the country. Speaking both for SAF with local and national policy statements and themselves as SAF members, has allowed for important nuanced discussions and brought objective and informed perspectives to complex land management issues.

SRC chapter members also support and lead a variety of field tours including the Northwest Active Management Tour for professionals and students, the Sustainable Forestry Tour for teachers and counselors, and Walk in Woods for students and teachers. The chapter supports student SAF members to attend training and events through a scholarship fund. 

Sixty-two members strong, the chapter is a shining example of an SAF local unit that benefits the practice of forestry, the forestry profession, and the Society. 
The SRC is unequivocally dedicated to generating awareness about forest management, working forests in Idaho, and created a more informed public. – Jennifer Okerlund, Idaho Forest Products Commission
A few words from the Snake River Chapter Leadership:
The Annual Inland West Active Forest Management Field Tour is organized by the SAF Snake River Chapter, University of Idaho, US Forest Service, and several TIMOs The field trip provides tremendous opportunities for working professionals and students to see innovations in Inland forest management.More than any time in the history, both SAF and our nation are faced with ever-increasing natural resource challenges. Our small, aging, and very dispersed chapter membership continue to publicly, and within our regional forestry sector, enthusiastically address communication, education, and advocacy challenges.

We thank our fellow members and the SAF leadership for this award. We hope that it will inspire other chapters, members, and students to help SAF increase its relevancy, for it is our local chapters where the rubber meets the road to help turn these challenges into opportunities.

Top Photo: The Snake River Chapter supports the Forestry Day at the Idaho Legislature Luncheon.
Bottom Photo: The Annual Inland West Active Forest Management Field Tour is organized by the SAF Snake River Chapter, University of Idaho, US Forest Service, and several TIMOs. The field trip provides tremendous opportunities for working professionals and students to see innovations in Inland forest management.

Student Leadership Award

Trish Nelson

Recognizes individual student achievement and leadership at the local, regional, or national level.
Trish Nelson is a Utah State University student in forestry ecology and management.Trish Nelson is pursuing a forestry ecology and management degree with a minor in recreation resource management from Utah State University (USU).

She is an active and engaged student leader that provides critical connections between students, the university, and SAF. She serves as the president for the USU Student SAF Chapter and Forestry Club and has been involved with SAF’s Student Executive Committee as a District 4 representative.

She has led, organized, and hosted annual society meetings and has encouraged students to present research and other items of interest. She has also organized fundraisers, coordinated student travel and attendance to SAF national conventions, facilitated the annual Christmas Tree Cut and Sale, coordinated hiring efforts to help students find seasonal and permanent employment, and led efforts to recruit new students to join SAF and become active members.

Trish positively influences fellow students and commits time, energy, and responsibility to accomplish activities that further the mission of SAF. She also works part time during the school year for a forestry professor to gain valuable experiences to share with her peers while she pays for her college education. 

Trish has had an impact on improving the visibility of forestry and exemplifies the qualities of leadership to drive the future of forestry. Congratulations Trish, we thank you for your energy and efforts and look forward to your continued involvement!
Trish’s ability to show up, roll up her sleeves, and accomplish activities that further the mission of SAF is remarkable, and her passion for forestry and SAF has been infectious for the students and professionals she encounters. – Bev Yelczyn
A few words from Trish Nelson:
Trish Nelson is a Utah State University student in forestry ecology and management.Being the 2021 SAF Student Leadership award winner is a great honor to me since I was nominated by my peers. After being informed that I was the recipient for this award, I had to consider why I was chosen. I finally acknowledged my accomplishments as a student at Utah State University and as a member of the Society of American Foresters. 

Being honored with this award has opened my mind to realize the hard work you put in today may not seem like enough, but the result is often a beautiful success after what seems like a chaotic mess. I now understand the impact my efforts have had on fellow students and professionals which influenced student involvement in SAF and natural resource management events. Winning this award has boosted my confidence and self-awareness which will positively propel me into my professional career.

Photos: Trish Nelson is a Utah State University student in forestry ecology and management.

Technology Transfer Award

Adam Downing

Recognizes outstanding performance in the areas of technology transfer, implementation, and extension.
Adam Downing-Fieldwork: Adam working up the numbers for a possible big tree champion.Adam Downing, a senior Virginia Cooperative Extension agent, is a strong leader and partner who has served forest landowners, loggers, natural resource professionals, youth, and the public with innovative, high quality, and impactful technology transfer since 2001.

The scope of his work covers multiple scales with his primary service region covering 28 counties and cities throughout northern Virginia. Adam has initiated and collaborated on numerous district, state, and multi-state educational programming initiatives encompassing a variety of delivery methods. He provides an exceptional, broad-based level of activity that includes publications, presentations, workshops, demonstrations, and other delivery modes – he has delivered 191 radio programs and written 121 newspaper articles since 2001! In terms of reach, Adam’s has extended from Kenya to Virginia, rural to urban, and agencies to corporations.

Adam is an active member of the Appalachian Society (APSAF) and currently serves as chair. He has created, produced, and delivered several forest history videos to enhance APSAF’s online annual conference, making this form of engagement both entertaining and informative.

Adam’s untiring efforts and innovative spirit go far beyond simply generating participation numbers to communicating true practice change. His work has benefited thousands of landowners and forestry practitioners and provided untold benefit to the forest resources of Virginia and beyond. 
Adam is an exceptional leader and extension forester who has excelled at technology transfer throughout his career and has significantly impacted generations of forest landowners in the process. – Dan Goerlich
A few words from Adam Downing:
The pandemic and YouTube created an opportunity to learn new technology transfer skills and reach new audiences.As an extension forester for 23 years, I’ve long looked with admiration on the winner of this award. In recent years, I’ve been blessed to call some of these fellow foresters friends, colleagues and mentors. To be the recipient of this award is humbling and thrilling. That friends and colleagues took time and interest to preparing the nomination means everything. To be the recipient is weirdly hard.

What have I done but stand on others’ shoulders, bring people together, share a woodsy enthusiasm, and been blessed with awesome family, co-workers, employers, volunteers, cooperative media persons, and more. Half of the name of this award says it… “transfer.” That means someone must “receive.”

As such, I would like to say thank you to anyone who knows my name and has received anything from me as you are part of any good thing I’ve done. In particular, I thank God for the gifts of mind, body and heart to be about this meaningful work.

To hear more from Adam Downing, watch his video here.

Top Photo: Adam working up the numbers for a possible big tree champion.
Bottom Photo: The pandemic and YouTube created an opportunity to learn new technology transfer skills and reach new audiences.

W. D. Hagenstein Communicator Award

Jennifer Gagnon

Recognizes an SAF member who leads innovative and exemplary communications initiatives and programs that increase the general public’s understanding of forestry and natural resources.
Jennifer uses a Biltmore stick to measure the diameter of a tree.As the extension project associate for Virginia Cooperative Extension since 2005, Jennifer leads the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program. She has had a significant positive impact on Virginia’s forests, forest landowners, and public perceptions of forestry. She organizes, facilitates, teaches, and leads many forest landowner educational programs and statewide efforts. In the process, she develops effective communications and marketing materials written in a clear, approachable style and presented in a visually appealing formats. 

She has found innovative ways to reach new communities such as Forestry for Architects tours and educational programs for real estate agents. She and her colleagues coordinated 20 “Real Forestry for Real Estate” classes attended by over 650 real estate professionals and Commissioners of the Revenue, with over 2,000 packets containing research-based forest management information distributed.

Jennifer has an innate ability to make forestry understandable and relatable to non-foresters and continuously works to bridge the knowledge gap between the forestry community and the public. She organizes wildlife tours, uses social media to share valuable information, and was recently appointed to the Virginia Board of Forestry 

Jennifer is a dedicated communicator and SAF member and leader who is an impactful advocate for the forestry community.
Jenn is a truly an incredible communicator and person. The work she does every day advances the forestry community and we are lucky to work with and know her. -- Stephanie Grubb
A few words from Jennifer Gagnon:
Jennifer and VCE colleague Neil Clark check in participants at the 40th anniversary of Virginia’s Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours.A love of language runs strongly in my family. My grandmother was a prolific reader and writer of essays, mom was a poet, and both uncles are lively oral storytellers. I too, have always loved language. In fact, I began my college career as a journalism major. Alas, the allure of forestry stole me away. 

When I began my forestry career as a researcher, I resigned myself to a lifetime of only writing scientific papers for peer-reviewed journals. Never did I dream I would be able to combine my love for forestry with my love for writing. And then my career path led me to Extension. 

In Extension, I’m able to write to my heart’s content. While I do write science-based Extension publications, I have ample opportunity for more informal (yet informational) communications with my woodland owner clients via newsletters and social media. I love sharing my experiences as a forester and a landowner with them. 

The pandemic allowed me to expand my communications toolbox via videos and webinars, two media I was hesitant to embrace. As it turns out, they too are fun and effective ways to communicate. 

Communicating with my clients is the best part of my job. And to be formally recognized for it from SAF is a true honor. The Hagenstein Communicator Award means more to me than any other I have received over the years because it’s for something l enjoy doing so very much. 

Top Photo: Jennifer uses a Biltmore stick to measure the diameter of a tree.
Bottom Photo: Jennifer and VCE colleague Neil Clark check in participants at the 40th anniversary of Virginia’s Fall Forestry & Wildlife Field Tours.

Young Forester Leadership Award

Rebecca Barnard

Recognizes an outstanding young leader in the development and promotion of an individual program or project, or for a sustained leadership role benefiting the practice of forestry and SAF.
Rebecca’s first turkey on a National Wild Turkey Federation-Partners hunt near Valentine, NE in April 2014. Rebecca Barnard is a forestry certification manager for Sappi North America (SNA) where she ensures that forest certification standards are aligned with how forest management is conducted in the US and Canada. 

Rebecca has shown strong leadership with an array of forestry and allied organizations and demonstrates a strong science-based collaborative leadership approach to forest management. What has been a constant across the years is Rebecca’s passion for forestry. She maintains a strong presence in the forestry community, looks for opportunities to partner with others to expand the reach of forestry, and is recognized as a leader among her peers.

In service to SAF, Rebecca has been involved at all levels. She is a life-long learner and prioritizes her involvement in SAF to maintain her keen understanding of forest best practices and works collaboratively within SAF to advance sensible forest policies. She has been a member of the Committee on Forest Policy since 2017 and currently serves as chair.

Rebecca is one of those rare individuals whose presence generates an outsized impact through a combination of determination, boundless energy, and a deep and unwavering commitment to sustainable forestry and the profession of forestry.
Rebecca has always been a “mover and shaker”  never satisfied with the status quo, questioning orthodoxy and seeking innovative ways to move a program forward. She is the type of person who gets noticed for her professionalism. – John McNulty
A few words from Rebecca Barnard:
Enjoying some time with colleagues Mike Ferrucci and Kurt Rusterholz during a forest management audit in 2011.Receiving SAF’s Young Forester Leadership Award is a fantastic personal and professional honor and a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. It is motivating and re-inspiring to receive accolades for a “job well done.” Reflecting on the accomplishments and achievements during my career, these successes were made possible only by the passion, sacrifices, and collective efforts of many equally dedicated leaders within our Society and the diverse profession-at-large. I share this award with all my professors, mentors, colleagues, friends, and family who have motivated and supported me throughout this journey.  

I have been an SAF member since college and have served in various state society leadership positions and most recently as chair of the Committee on Forest Policy. Serving SAF is a great privilege, one which has deepened my passion and love for my career, SAF, and the profession. My membership and service to SAF has provided stability and purpose during times of personal and professional unpredictability and has given me a window through which to stay connected. I am blessed to work in a profession comprised of passionate, dedicated, hard-working, knowledgeable, and results-oriented individuals seeking the best for our nations’ forests and communities.  

This award is by far the most meaningful I have received. I expect nothing will surpass it! I look forward to continued service to the forestry profession and SAF. The future is bright for our profession and American forests, and I accept this award with sincere humility and gratitude.  

Top Photo: Rebecca’s first turkey on a National Wild Turkey Federation-Partners hunt near Valentine, NE in April 2014. 
Bottom Photo: Enjoying some time with colleagues Mike Ferrucci and Kurt Rusterholz during a forest management audit in 2011.

Presidential Field Forester Awards

Recognizes foresters that have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry on the ground using sound, scientific methods and adaptive management strategies. To hear more from the Presidential Field Foresters, click on the hyperlinked names below to watch a short video.

District 1 – Samantha Chang
District 2 – Stephen Fitzgerald
District 3 – Ryan Stewart
District 4 – Dennis Davaz
District 5 – James Bednar
District 6 – Barrie Brusila
District 7 – Dave Jackson
District 8 – John Maitland
District 9 – Richard Taylor, CF
District 10 – Pete Kleto, CF
District 11 – Jason Ellis, CF

Class of 2021 Fellows

Recognition bestowed on a member by their peers for outstanding contributions and service to SAF and the profession. Fellows are listed in alphabetical order, followed by SAF state society affiliation. To hear more from each Fellow, click on the hyperlinked names below to watch a short video. 
Dave Atkins, Montana 
Gary Brittner, California  
Michael Bozzo, CF, Appalachian 
Tom Davidson, Appalachian 
Paul Doruska, CF, Wisconsin 
Keith Gilless, California  
Karl Hansen, Ouachita 
Shaun Harkins, CF, Oregon 
Donald Hodges, CF, Kentucky-Tennessee 
Randal Holeman, Ouachita 
Mariann Johnston, CF, New York 
Kenneth Kane, Allegheny 
Larry Nance, Ouachita 
Amanda Lang, Southeastern 
Ronald Lemin, CF, New England 
James Mordica, Mississippi 
Blair Orr, Michigan 
Jeffery Pardue, CF, Appalachian 
Richard Reitz, CF, Southwestern 
Greg Scheerer, CF, Appalachian 
Chris Schnepf, Inland Empire 
Taylor Stein, Southeastern 
Cecile Stelter, CF, Allegheny 
George Tiley, CF, Louisiana 
Eugene Walters, CF, Ohio 
Randy Watkins, Mississippi 
Howard Wurzbacher, CF, Allegheny

Class of 2021 SAF Student Diversity Scholars

Scholars attend the SAF national convention and are paired with mentors to have the opportunity to learn from one another and engage with leaders across SAF and the profession. The scholars are listed along with their respective universities. To hear more from each Diversity Scholar, click on the hyperlinked names below to watch a short video.

Rachael Cleveland 
University of Hawaii at Manoa 
Peggy De'Scoville 
University of New Mexico — Taos 
Kaitlyn Watson 
University of Arkansas at Monticello 
Joanna Lumbsden-Pinto 
The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry  
Ashish Alex 
University of Maine 
Bini Dahal 
North Carolina State University 
Kayla Stuart 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville 
Gaurav Dhungel 
North Carolina State University 
Cameron McKenzie 
Yale University 
Mabel Baez Schon  
University of Florida  
Marco R. Castaneda 
California State University, Dominguez Hills 
Sofia Garcia 
University of Florida 

Kamana Poudel
Oregon State University 

Nadia Bowles 
Auburn University 

Mikayla Manthiram
Michigan State University 

Libin Thaikkattil Louis
University of Maine 

2021 Gregory Award Winners

This award provides economic assistance to outstanding students or professionals from outside of the United States and Canada to attend the SAF national convention. To hear more from each Gregory Award winner, click on the hyperlinked names below to watch a short video.


Issahaku Npoagne Tawanbu
Lonto, Ghana

Olaoluwa Israel Adetula
Akure, Nigeria

Arthur Hsin-Wu Hsu
Taipei, Taiwan

Mahtuf Ikhsan
Bogor, Indonesia

Konoutan Médard T. Kafoutchoni
Abomey-Calavi, Benin

Lucas Scardini Moretto
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Early-Career Professionals

Edson James Morales Parra
Jauja, Peru 

Bernadette Arakwiye
Musanze, Rwanda

John Agbo Ogbodo
Enugu, Nigeria

Anju Upadhyaya
Pokhara, Nepal

Outstanding Student Chapter Awards

The Outstanding SAF Student Chapter Awards recognize the outstanding SAF student chapters in the nation and their faculty representative during an academic year.

This year's Outstanding Student Chapter will receive a $500 honorarium, and be recognized in SAF's monthly publication, The Forestry Source.

This year, Mississippi State University’s (MSU) SAF student chapter received the Outstanding SAF Student Chapter Award. Watch a video from the MSU SAF student chapter here.