2021 Regional Forester's Honor Awards

2021 Regional Forester Awards Invitation

Together, We Rise

All employees and award recipients are invited to a celebration of their accomplishments by attending the 2021 Regional Forester’s Honor Awards Ceremony!

Message from the Regional Forester for the Southern Region, U.S. Forest Service:

"I am pleased to announce this year’s recipients for the 2021 Regional Forester’s Honor Awards. These recipients are being recognized for their outstanding accomplishments, hard work, resilience and innovation throughout the Southern Region.

This year’s theme 'Together, We Rise' acknowledges exceptional Southern Region employees, work units, partnerships and groups who have demonstrated interdependence and unity in accomplishing our mission while overcoming the difficulties faced in these challenging times. The Regional Forester’s Honor Awards Ceremony is an opportunity to recognize groups and individuals who reflect Agency core values by demonstrating excellence through interdependence, service to others, and commitment to conservation, diversity and safety."

     -Ken Arney, Region 8 Regional Forester

 

Award Categories and 2021 Recipients

Applying Knowledge Globally

Arkansas Wildland Fire Academy Planning Team – Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Landscape Level Integration and Shared Stewardship (LLISS) Team – Regional Office

Feral Swine Research Project – Savannah River and Southern Research Station (SRS)

Excelling as a High Performing Agency

Clemson Fire Tigers and Partners – Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests

Southern Area Coordination Center – Regional Office

Southern Region Budget Community – All Units

Workforce Development Programs Team – Regional Office

Sustaining Our Nation’s Forests and Grasslands

Regional Fuels Program – Regional Office

Matt Pardue – Kisatchie National Forest

Law Enforcement and Investigations Team – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Pleasant Hill Ranger District Wildlife Crew – Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

SORBA Central Savannah River Area Chapter – Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests

Walthour Moss Foundation Forest Legacy Acquisition – Regional Office

Delivering Benefits to the Public

Virginia Green Pastures Recreation Area – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Wayna Adams – Daniel Boone National Forest

Public Services Team – El Yunque National Forest

Becky Loth – National Seed Lab

Integrated Great American Outdoors Act Team – Regional Office

Old Fort Trails Project – National Forests in North Carolina

Get Black Outside Day – Ocala, George Washington & Jefferson, and Cherokee  National Forests, and Southern Research Station (SRS)

Backcountry Horsemen of Virginia Highlands – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

 

Regional Forester's Special Awards

Lake Sylvia Recreation Area and Camp Ouachita Historic Property Lease Project – Ouachita National Forest

Integrating Timber and RIM Knowledge – Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Regional Forester’s Honor Awards Team 2017-2020 – Kisatchie National Forest

Southern Region Law Enforcement & Investigations – All Units
 

Ranger District of the Year

Calcasieu Ranger District – Kisatchie National Forest

 

Annotation 2021-10-21 170206

* Award categories align with the strategic plan of the U.S. Forest Service.

 

Tip: Click on a graphic or photograph to see full resolution videos and photos. Be sure to read the full story narrative in the Flickr description!

 

 

Applying Knowledge Globally

To recognize individuals, work units, partnerships, or groups who have demonstrated achievements in accomplishing work environment and safety improvements on our Nations forests and grasslands. Awards will be made to nominations that best demonstrate achievements supporting the goal outcome of strengthening the learning culture within the USDA Forest Service, including through partnerships and collaborations. An individual or group may be nominated for a vibrant work environment or safety idea, program, policy or accomplishment.

Applying Knowledge Globally

 

Ouachita and Ozark St. Francis Fire Program

The Academy, which began 22 years ago, provided 429 wildland firefighters from 25 states specialized advanced training to help equip them for wildland fire and other incident assignments, both at home and in other parts of the country. All this in spite of a pandemic, and while using a virtual platform. Learn more

Arkansas Wildland Fire Academy - Ouachita and Ozark St. Francis Fire Program Arkansas Wildland Fire Academy Planning Team – Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

 

Team Members

Joshua Graham, Tim Nutley and Dustin Kingwell

 

Region 8 Planning - Landscape Level Integration and Shared Stewardship Team

The Southern Region’s Landscape Level Integration and Shared Stewardship (LLISS) is an analytical framework built by a collaborative team from R8 and the Southern Research Station. The framework aids decision makers with work prioritization to actively manage landscapes and implement shared stewardship goals, while efficiently aligning budget and workforce initiatives.

Landscape Level Integration and Shared Stewardship (LLISS) Team – Regional Office

Team Members

Abel, Debbie; Adams, Cassie; Adkins, Tracey; Alsamadisi, Adam; Anderson, Matthew; Ash, Jeremy; Baggs, Joanne; Barns, Brian; Benes, Jake; Billups, James; Blaedow, Ryan; Blomquist, Stacy; Bryant, Claudette; Burnett, Michelle; Chen, Fernando; Commens-Carson, Amy; Davis, Erika; Dawkins, Sierra; Dillon, Wallace; Duerr, Don; Foster, Alton; Foushee, Rodney; Gellerstedt, Paul; Grossman, Anna; Gump, Rob; Hafer, Mae Lee; Hampton, Vanessa; Helt, Matthew; Hepworth, Allan; Hill, Michael; Hinchee, Janet; Holden, Geoff; Hollins, Brenda; Hollowell, Meredith; Humphrey, Felicia; Jackson, Brian; Jackson, Earl; Jacokes, Renee; Jones, Parmecia; Keller, Michael; Krueger, Joseph; Krusac, Dennis; Larson, Nick; Laseter, Stephanie; Leitz, Chelsea; Lewis, Laura; Madson, Lee; Matthews, Bart; McCall, Wesley; McInnis, Daniel; Miller, Mary; Millott, Jason; Mitchell, Michelle; Morgan, Paul; Nathanson, Amy; Nowak, John; Pistrag, Mark; Pomara, Lars; Poole, Anne; Prudhomme, Bruce; Ransom, Ashlee; Rardin, Kurt; Ray, Donna; Raymond, Scott; Rodrigue, Jason; Roghair, Craig; Rubiaco, Adrianne; Shipley, Doug; Smith, Estella; Smith, Scott; Terry, Terry; Thornhill, Lee; Thorning, Micah; Thurmond, Dagmar; Thurston, Eric; Treasure, Emrys; Turpin, Patti; Twaroski, Jim; Vann, Laura; Ward, Michael; Whalen, James; Willingham, Tyler

 

Savannah River Feral Swine Research Project

Consistent collaboration and support by the USDA Forest Service Savannah River wildlife program, the Southern Research Station, and its partners, has enabled the ability to monitor, analyze and publish concerns relating to invasive feral swine populations and the economic security and safety of agricultural food sources

Savannah River Feral Swine Research Project

Team Members

Thomas Tal Mims, Roderick Alfred, Tracy Grazia, Mike Larsen, Ray Geroso, Kyle Cox, Andy Fuerst, John Kilgo, James Garabedian, Jack Mayer, Thomas Edwards

 

 

Excel as a High Performing Agency

To recognize an individual or organization, who has demonstrated exemplary public service realizes customer-focused results. Service is implicit in the Forest Service’s name and in our motto: “Caring for the land and serving people.” Striving for outstanding public service is part of our organizational culture. We are dedicated to organizational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. We are also committed to creating a workplace environment that can attract and retain top employees while meeting the needs of the people we serve. Examples include activities that are highly effective and make measurable contributions toward making the Forest Service an employer of choice; where performance and expectations are high while creating a fair, diverse, inclusive, and effective workplace.

Excel as a High Performing Agency

 

Clemson Fire Tigers and Partners – Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests

In recent years, Clemson University in upstate South Carolina has had one of the highest ranked elite collegiate football teams in the nation. Did you know they have another winning team? It's comprised of Clemson students trained to be wildland firefighters and they are called “Fire Tigers.” This movement even caught the eye of NBC Nightly News.

Team Members

Clemson University, Andrew Pickens Ranger District and the Consortium of Appalachian Fire Managers and Scientists

Wesley Bentley, Jarrod Brucke,  Bunty, Jen, Kevin Burchett, Destry Bush, Greg Chapman, Gene Gravely, Don Hagan, Chris Holcomb, Jen Houts, Robert Little, Tim McCall, Helen Mohr, Benji Mosley, Jess Neville, Caroline Sharpe, Robbie Sitzlar, Toby Stapleton, Eric Tilden, Brock Williams, Charlie Vissage, Adam Warwick, Michael Weeks, Columbia Dispatch

 

 

Southern Area Coordination Center – Regional Office

As pandemic conditions emerged throughout FY2021 the Southern Area Coordination Center excelled as a high performing organization within the agency. During the pandemic, offices transitioned to operate in a virtual environment and the SACC didn’t miss a beat. The center found new ways to provide excellent customer service to more than 10,000 responders and 348 entities throughout the Southern Region. 

 

Southern Area Coordination Center – Regional Office

Team Members

Nancy Ellsworth, Calvin Miller, Al Mebane, T.F. Boyer, Danie Carter, Tracy Robinson, Ryan Johnson, Denver Ingram and Kevin Scasny

 

Southern Region Budget Community – All Units

In accordance with The Office of Management and Budget and Congressional direction, the Forest Service brought forth a new budget structure in FY 2021. Budget Modernization established a clear expectation of increased transparency surrounding how the agency presents, plans, and executes its budget. The magnitude of this change was profound and the Southern Region budget community’s dedication to support the mission was unwavering and motivated by our core values.

Southern Region Budget Community – All Units

Team Members

Sherry Reaves, LaShanda Holliman, Jason Millott and all members of our budget community regionwide

 

Workforce Development Programs Team – Regional Office

Each year, Region 8 hires 80-120 external applicants into permanent positions. Traditional hiring results in a white male dominant workforce. To recruit for diversity, we have invested in the Resource Assistant and Public Land Corps Program. We have improved the programs so effectively that we lead the country in PLC and RAP hires each year.

Workforce Development Programs Team – Regional Office

Team Members

David Torok, Kelly Balcarczyk, Jeff Loomis, Sylvia Staples, Michaela Hall, Ginelle Heller, Meredith Casper, Jules DeFriese, Sherry Salcido, Krista Langley, Arianne Maupin, Ibis Dawson, Alicea Wyles

 

 

Sustaining Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands

To recognize individuals, work units, partnerships, or groups who have demonstrated achievements in restoring, sustaining, and/or enhancing the Nation’s forests and grasslands. Awards will be made to nominations that best demonstrate achievements supporting the goal outcome of “Forest and grassland ecosystems are resilient and adaptive in a changing environment.” Activities may include preventing or mitigating disturbance from wildfire, invasive species, insect or disease outbreaks, or extreme weather events; reducing climate change vulnerability; and/or restoring the resiliency of our forest and grassland ecosystems.

Strategic Plan | US Forest Service

 

Regional Fuels Management Program - Regional Office

Wildfire season has intensified with “mega fires” becoming the norm across western landscapes.  The Regional Fuels Program acknowledged it’s not “if,” but “when” the south will have to face similar wildfire seasons. Forests across the Southern Region applied prescribed fire on a regional record-high 1.3 million acres of federal lands. All of this was completed during a pandemic and a new budget modernization process. 

Southern Regional Fuels Program

Team Members

Mike Ward, Jason Demas, Nancy Ellsworth, Mike Seaton and Shardul Raval

 

Matt Pardue – Kisatchie National Forest

Matt Pardue was instrumental in sustaining and recovering the red cockaded woodpecker population on the Vernon unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District after two devastating hurricanes in 2020. Without Matt's leadership, the population would have severely declined.

Matt Pardue – Kisatchie National Forest

Matt Pardue – Kisatchie National Forest

 

 

Law Enforcement and Investigations Team – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations team on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests successfully curtailed timber theft across National Forest lands in Virginia and West Virginia. This award focuses on their collaboration with internal and external publics, dedication, and teamwork. More

Law Enforcement and Investigations Team – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

 

Team Members

Katie Ballew, Kelada Bennett-Wallace, Chip Buchannan, David Ford, John Price, Chris Ramey, Bryce King, Aaron Devore, James Willet

 

Pleasant Hill Ranger District Wildlife Crew – Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

The Pleasant Hill Ranger District Wildlife Crew completed over one thousand acres of woodland restoration and maintained hundreds of acres of native grass fields and openings. They recently partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation to implement a State Wildlife Grants and Superfund restoration project to accomplish over 1,500 acres of woodland restoration. 

Pleasant Hill - Region Forester's Award

Team Members

Michael Deen, Brent Snellings, Greg Taylor and Tristan Cooper.

 

 

SORBA Central Savannah River Area Chapter – Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests

The Forks Area Trail System (FATS) is ranked as 10th best single-track trail system in the world! The important partnership between SORBAcsra and the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests improves forests and grasslands through the extensive work to maintain FATS, on the Long Cane Ranger District. The Forks Area Trail System wouldn’t be sustainable for use by hundreds of bikers, hikers, and runners each week without the more than 10,000 hours spent on trail maintenance on FATS over the past decade. Learn More

SORBA Central Savannah River Area Chapter – Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests

Team Members

Angela Allen, Paul Farrow, Glen Kansanback

 

Walthour Moss Foundation Forest Legacy Acquisition – Regional Office

A conservation easement on 4,000 acres of longleaf pine forest in the Sandhills of North Carolina was donated to the Forest Legacy Program through a federal acquisition. With an estimated value of more than $120 million, the Walthour-Moss Forest meets core values of conservation, aligns with priorities, and exemplifies shared stewardship.

Walthour-Moss Foundation Forest Acquisition

Team Members

Kyle Jones, Stephen Later, Jeffrey Marcus, Rhonda Sturgill, Mathew Tilden, David Lane, Michael Murphy, Susan Miller, Jeff Fillion, Al Foster, John Matthews, Kay Reed, Kyle Jones, Scott Stewart, Susan Granbery

 

 

Delivering Benefits to the Public

To recognize individuals, work units, partnerships, or groups who have demonstrated major achievements in supporting the goal outcome of “Social, economic, and environmental benefits flow from forest and grassland resources.

Delivering Benefits to the Public

 

 

Virginia Green Pastures Recreation Area – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests (GWJNF) and the Commonwealth of Virginia recently entered into a historic property lease to provide public recreation, historic interpretation, and to ensure the adequate preservation of the Green Pastures Recreation Area. This award reflects the shared commitment of the Commonwealth and the GWJNF to providing access to our natural and cultural resources. More

Virginia Green Pastures Recreation Area – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Team Members

Joby Timm, Clyde Cristman, Brian Fuller, Charlie Conner, Katheryn Surface Burks, Catherine Shankles, Ellen Hornstein, Beth LeMaster, Jim Thompson, Theresa Tanner, Elizabeth McNichols, Mike Madden, Jim Twaroski, Eric Thurston

 

Wayna Adams – Daniel Boone National Forest

Daniel Boone National Forest Archaeologist Wayna Adams successfully increased the capacity of the heritage program through partnerships. With this increased capacity, she created virtual heritage education products, enhanced government to government relations with Tribes, and completed an unprecedented number of cultural resource assessments.

2021-10-29 DBNF RF Award Video

Wayna Adams – Daniel Boone National Forest

 

 

Public Services Team – El Yunque National Forest

The Public Services team improved Forest accessibility and safety during a pandemic by establishing a new reservation system thatkept the Forest open and is bilingual, created a series of “Virtual Ranger Talks,” worked with local NGO’s to provide wellness presentations to locals, and supported permittees and business during COVID.

EYNF_Public Services Team

Public Services Team – El Yunque National Forest

Team Members

David Ilse, Love in Motion, VetsWork, Love in Motion, El Yunque National Forest Public Services team, Discover Puerto Rico, Fundación Amigos De El Yunque, Vitrina Solidaria, and Corazón Latino.

 

Becky Loth – National Seed Lab

Ms. Loth has significantly improved the National Seed Labs functionality and customer service through her hard work and dedication.She has coordinated improvements to upgrade the facility and also upgraded the technology and equipment necessary to be more efficient and effective, as well as improve customer experiences.

Becky Loth – National Seed Lab

 

 

Integrated Great American Outdoors Act Team – Regional Office

Great American Outdoors Act project development, data input, prioritization, competition, selection, and implementation is happening on a rapid-fire timeline with little room for team rest and recovery between tasks. The R8 team has positioned the region for ongoing success and delivering high value outcomes for the public and our forests.

Integrated Great American Outdoors Act Team – Regional Office

Team Members

Mark Meng, David Culp, Paul Morgan, Steve Schnetzler, Joel Ortiz, Douglas Massaro, Gary Griffin, Tiffany Williams, Terry Terry, Deborah Caffin, Andrea Lynn Prince, Dave Lane, Matt Boisseau, Danica Milinovic, Brenda Hollins, Olivia Hosea, Dawn Suiter, Charles Brace and Hector Socias.

 

Old Fort Trails Project – National Forests in North Carolina

The Grandfather Ranger district and a diverse group of partners are leading the Old Fort Trails Project – a community driven project building 42 miles of trails connecting Old Fort to the Pisgah National Forest, demonstrating how we can develop sustainable trails that support rural economies and advance equity and inclusion in the outdoors.

Old Fort Trails Project – National Forests in North Carolina

Team Members

Lisa Jennings, Jason McDougald, Lavita Logan, Stephanie Swepson Twitty

 

Get Black Outside Day – Ocala, George Washington & Jefferson, and Cherokee  National Forests, and Southern Research Station (SRS)

Four national forests partnered with See You at the Top, Tennessee Aquatics Program, and National Association of Black Scuba Divers to host Get Black Outside Day, welcoming 185 participants from black-led organizations based in Washington, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Cleveland for adventures focused on the unique Forest Service snorkeling program. More

Get Black Outside Day – Ocala, George Washington & Jefferson, and Cherokee  National Forests, and Southern Research Station (SRS)

Team Members

Zanethia Barnett, Craig Roghair, Erika Hood, Ebony Hood, Ken Stewart, Ernie Franklin, Erik Denson, Aubra Denson, Hillary VanDyke, Antoinette Davis, Matthew Grove, Marcia Hood, Stephanie Chapman, Chad Landress, Kimberly Winter

 

Backcountry Horsemen of Virginia Highlands – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

In 2021, the Backcountry Horseman of the Virginia Highlands (BCHVH) completed significant trail repair work on a 14-mile section of the Virginia Highlands Trail on the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area on the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. This award recognizes the extraordinary initiative, logistical coordination, and field expertise of the BCHVH. More

Backcountry Horsemen of Virginia Highlands – George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

Team Members

Backcountry Horsemen of the Virginia Highlands, Nancy Sluys, Edward Wright

 

 

Regional Forester Special Awards

Regional Forester Honor Awards 

 

Regional Forester’s Special Awards for “Together We Rise” recognize employees, partners, or volunteers who have demonstrated excellence in their unified commitment to public service, conservation or outreach while overcoming the special challenges that FY 2021 presented. 

 

 

 

Lake Sylvia Recreation Area and Camp Ouachita Historic Property Lease Project – Ouachita National Forest

The Ouachita NF recently completed an Historic Property Lease in an unprecedented timeframe with Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. The Lake Sylvia Recreation Area and Camp Ouachita consists of an 18-acre lake.

Lake Sylvia Recreation Area and Camp Ouachita Historic Property Lease Project – Ouachita National Forest

Team Members

Lori Bell, Jake Cowart, Chris Ham, Garry Findley, Ellen Hornstein, Danny Woodyard, Jim Andrews, Emauel Pricop, Clint Davis, Terence Peck, Troy Heithecker, Doug Stephens, Julie Moore, Jim Twaroski, Aaron Cole, Andrew Triplett, William (Bill) Jackson

 

Integrating Timber and RIM Knowledge – Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

As the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests’ Resource Information Management staff, personnel from GIS and Timber created a digital sample cruise system that allows for improved efficiency of removing trees, while increasing timber marker safety. The teamwork highlights how skills integration and information exchange between different disciplines benefits the forest’s mission.

Integrating Timber and RIM Knowledge - Ozark-St. Francis NFs

Integrating Timber and RIM Knowledge – Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

Team Members

Tamara Hocut, Tina Rotenbury, Brian Barns, Jeremy Eubanks, Coy Longshore, David Moore, Joseph Huffman

 

Regional Forester’s Honor Awards Team 2017-2020 – Kisatchie National Forest

The Kisatchie National Forest coordinated, organized, and led the Southern Region’s Regional Forester’s Honor Awards for four years: 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Three years hosted an in-person event held at a ballroom, and the fourth year was held as a virtual ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional Forester’s Honor Awards Team 2017-2020 – Kisatchie National Forest

Team Members

Stacy Blomquist, James Caldwell, Lisa Lewis, Rachel Ross and Wanda Hebert

 

 

Southern Region Law Enforcement & Investigations – All Units

Region 8 Law Enforcement Officers are being recognized for serving on front line during an incredibly difficult year with record level attendance across forests and a limited number of officers across the Region.

Southern Region Law Enforcement & Investigations

Group Leader: Mike Donaldson, Special Agent in Charge

 

Ranger District of the Year

To recognize the Ranger District in the Southern Region which best exemplifies management excellence. Recognizing that good work is being done on each Ranger District, this award pays tribute to the one District whose overall achievement is clearly extraordinary. 

Map of the Southern Region, U.S. Forest Service

 

Calcasieu Ranger District – Kisatchie National Forest

The Calcasieu Ranger District has faced significant challenges trying to recover from devastating hurricanes and tornados over this last year, while at the same time trying to accomplish this recovery work during the COVID crisis. The District has pulled together and performed outstanding work during this difficult time.

Calcasieu Ranger District – Kisatchie National Forest - District Ranger Johnny Fryer

Calcasieu Ranger District – Kisatchie National Forest


Group Lead

District Ranger Jonny Fryar

 

Find more stories about work of the U.S. Forest Service at: Inside FS.

Find photographs and videos at: Collection: Regional Forester Honor Awards (flickr.com)

 





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