Fulbright Program selects Forest Service Hydrologist Liz Schnackenberg to assist with wildfire recovery training in Portugal

Media Contact: Aaron Voos, (307)745-2323


News Release (PDF)


(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.)  April 2, 2019 – Liz Schnackenberg, a U.S. Forest Service Hydrologist with the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland, was recently awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award to travel to Portugal to assist in recovery and restoration following wildfire.  Liz has national experience as a leader in Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER).


The Fulbright Award provided for Liz to be hosted for two weeks (Feb. 16 - March 2, 2019) in Portugal to train Portuguese professionals at the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF). ICNF is like the U.S. Forest Service in that they manage National Forests, but also provide guidance to private land-owners, and manage Natural Reserves. Due to increasing fire intensity and frequency in Portugal, there is a lack of a system to identify and prioritize emergency response work to be done following wildfires.


The Fulbright Specialist Program brought Liz to Portugal to train the managers and researchers to work in integrated ways and develop strategies for post-fire response.  This includes minimizing soil erosion and identifying high risk areas of flooding and debris flow concerns so that response actions could be prioritized.


Prior to the trip, Liz was recognized by U.S. President Donald J. Trump in a letter as a member of the Department of State Exchange Program. The letter thanks Schnackenberg for utilizing her expertise globally and for representing the United States as a citizen ambassador.


The Fulbright Program is a cultural exchange program between the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. It is one of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs in the world. Via the program, competitively-selected American citizens including students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists may receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach, or exercise their talents abroad. Citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the U.S.