Hoosier National Forest Announces New District Ranger

Contact(s): Marion Mason, (812) 275‐5987

Bedford (September 7, 2018) – Forest supervisor, Mike Chaveas, is pleased to announce that the new district ranger for the Hoosier National Forest is Michelle Paduani.  As district ranger, Michelle will be directly responsible for the conservation and responsible use of the natural resources of the forest in the two districts; along with the planning, evaluation, and management of each forest resource including timber, soil, land, water, wildlife and fish habitat, wilderness, and outdoor recreation.

Michelle was born in LaPorte, Ind., and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.  She was serving her country as an aircraft mechanic on C-5 airplanes at Travis Air Force Base in California during and after the 9/11 attacks.  She has a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Montana.  Her early career included a stint as a river ranger for Montana State Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. 

Most recently Michelle was the installation environmental program director for the Pacific Missile Range Facility, U.S. Navy, on Kauai, Hawaii.  There, she managed all natural and cultural resources for the installation, as well as all the environmental compliance for storm water, waste water, hazardous waste, etc. In her short time with the Navy, she secured funding of one million dollars for conservation of an endangered seabird, and won the Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Award for her and her staff’s efforts in protecting the environment and promoting the quality of life without compromising the mission’s success.

Michelle and Michael Paduani

Michelle had previously worked for over 3 years for the U.S. Forest Service as a supervisory environmental coordinator for the Colville National Forest in Washington.  In her time with the Forest Service, she worked on many high priority projects that received national attention.  She led a team of 15 specialists to accomplish many successful projects including vegetation management, grazing allotment management, Farm Bill insect health and disease projects, ecological restoration, large woody debris habitat restoration and several more exciting projects on the forest.  In this position, she was recognized several times for outstanding performance, was called upon to lead a webinar for how to manage and coordinate collaboration project planning field trips for the Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation, and organized environmental education events and forest wide team building events.

In addition, Michelle has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an environmental coordinator, successfully completing a 15-year management plan and environmental assessment for a national wildlife refuge.  She also worked for the U.S. Army as a training lands manager in Alaska for several years.

“Michelle impressed the hiring panel with her breadth of knowledge and experience in a number of areas, particularly in working collaboratively with communities, stakeholders and employees,” stated Mike Chaveas, forest supervisor. “We are fortunate to have her on our team.”

Michelle is married with two children, Jaxon, 6, and Gianna, 8.  Her husband, Mike, is an educator.  The whole family enjoys, hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, and having fun!  They are very excited to come back to Indiana and make a positive impact to the forest, as well as their community.  The Paduanis are residing in Tell City.


The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service’s Eastern Region includes 20 states in the Midwest and East, stretching from Maine, to Maryland, to Missouri, to Minnesota.  There are 17 national forests and one national tallgrass prairie in the Eastern Region. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/R9.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us.


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