2019 Regional Forester Awards

The Intermountain Regional Leadership Team and guests recognized the 2019 Regional Forester Award recipients on November 6, 2019, in Ogden, Utah.  The thirty-six nominations were impressive and represented a broad array of accomplishments that embody “This is Who We Are.”  The thirteen individuals or groups receiving Regional Forester Awards truly embraced the Forest Service’s mission and values of Conservation, Service, Interdependence, Diversity and Safety.  Congratulations!

 Work Environment Award 

This award recognizes significant efforts and tangible results to engage employees in creating a respectful and safe work environment.

Bystander Intervention Cadre, Intermountain Region

In recognition of your contribution to advancing our agency’s values by facilitating Bystander Intervention Training throughout the Intermountain Region.

Five people standing together. Woman in the middle is holding a wooden box. In recognition of contributions to advancing our agency’s values by facilitating Bystander Intervention Training throughout the Intermountain Region. Bryan Bearor, Adriene Holcomb, Julie Thomas, Elisha Hornung and Nora Rasure. 

Award Recipients: All bystander training cadre members

Bryan Bearor, Julie Thomas, Adriene Holcomb, Elisha Hornung, Colin Dunn, Jared Peak, Jo Roberts, Larry Framme, Rachelle Handley, Colton Rogers, Josh Lambert, Michael Byers, Lucas Yeamans, Christopher Edwards, Juan Barrientez, Suzie Tenhagen, Sarah Flinders, Shane Zimmerman, Piper Wolfley, Chris Hartman, Belle Craig, Williams Saunders, Crystal Loesch, Kyra Povirk, Bryce Jones, Dennis Kuhnel, Julie Thomas, Nelson Mills, Matt Ginder, Shannon Stafford, Cheryl Butler, Karen Hartman, Adam Solt, Sandra Jewkes, Justin Bradley Jennie Nielson, Ray Manning, Brandon Hoffman, Heather McLean, Mike Diem, Andrew Van Wagenen, Laura Seefeldt, Alexis Holder, Jenna Walsh, Elizabeth Hamilton, Kylie Esselstrom, Mark Burnham, Alex Baker, Dennyson Haynes, Kelly Wickens, Carl Sanders, and John Russell.


This year, 52 individuals took Bystander Intervention facilitator training with the mission of presenting to their home units. This important training is designed to provide Forest Service employees with the tools they need to safely interrupt behaviors and circumstances that might place others at risk. This core group of employees volunteered their time and talents to accept training and present the training to their peers. In the course of 8 weeks following the Train the Trainer class, 108 sessions were held across the Region where 2,294 employees were provided new tools to make our workplace better.



Customer Service

This award recognizes innovative efforts in providing excellent customer service to visitors, forest or grassland users, contractors, partners, cooperators, permittees, citizens and/or other employees.

Jodi Hamel, Information Specialist, Dixie National Forest

Two women standing together. Woman on the left is holding a wooden box.Customer Service Award Recipient, Jodi Hamel, Information Specialist, Dixie National Forest with Nora Rasure, Intermountain Regional Forester.

In recognition of your commitment and dedication to serving visitors of Southwest Utah at the Public Lands Information Center

Award Recipient: Jodi Hamel

As the Information Specialist for the Public Lands Center in St. George, Utah, Jodi provides outstanding customer service to over 35,000 visitors a year. Jodi also provides oversight and training to 23 volunteers who assist the information center in interpretive and educational duties. This year Jodi coordinated 11 volunteer field trips as well as another 11 public/volunteer trips in partnership with the Dixie Arizona Strip Interpretive Association. Jodi does all this while maintaining her job scheduling security clearances and supporting agency staff. Since Jodi is responsible for volunteer scheduling and security clearances, she often drives volunteers to Las Vegas to get their identification cards activated. Jodi’s commitment to excellent customer service and connecting people to the land through information sharing, partnerships and conservation education is an exemplary display of service to the American people.

Regional Saw Program, Region 4

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.In recognition of the Regional saw team. Brian Burbridge, Michael Scott, John Platt, Skeet Houston, Tyler Koci, and Nora Rasure.

In recognition of your outstanding contributions to the Regional Saw Program. Your dedication and commitment to training our employees, partners, cooperators and volunteers enable us to be a safer and more productive organization,

Award Recipients: Brian Burbridge, Nathan Shinkle, Ryan Erne, Tyler Koci, Brian Milligan, Skeet Houston, Kelly Cornwall, Doug Clark, Brandon Jensen, Thomas Taylor, Riley Rhoades, Adam Benkula, Brandon Everett, Dave Telian, Patrick Brown, Michael Scott, John Platt, Thomas Taylor, Jason Foreman.

The exemplary performance of the Regional Saw Team helps forests across the region increase their capacity for work, while supporting a robust volunteer program and enhancing safety. This group’s dedication and commitment to training employees, partners, cooperators and volunteers ensures the USFS can continue to operate a safe and productive program. Individuals participating in the saw program accept this commitment as a collateral duty, volunteering hours of their time after work and on weekends to improve existing relationships and build new ones. In turn, our crucial partners assist us on the ground, allowing us to clear more miles of trails and provide more access, exponentially increasing the amount of work the Forest Service can accomplish. This collaborative effort guarantees continued success with landscape level treatments and general trail maintenance. To date we have eight approved partners that can assist us safely in fulfilling our obligation for improved public access. An additional two partners are progressing to certification.


Forest and Grassland Conditions

This award recognizes significant achievements in improving forest and grassland conditions through shared stewardship with other agencies, organizations and/or partners.

Canyons Project, Manti-La Sal National Forest

In recognition of your hard work and dedication to the Manti-La Sal National Forest Canyons Project

Award Recipients: Thirty-two employees from the Manti-La Sal National Forest, other Forests and the Regional Office.

Six people standing. Man in the middle of the group holding a wood box.In recognition of the Manti-La Sal National Forest Canyons Project. Ryan Nehl, Darren Olsen, Kyle Beagley, Michael Scottorn, Greg Montgomery, Nora Rasure.

Darren Olsen, Kyle Beagley, Michael Scottorn, Greg Montgomery, Ryan Nehl, Bill Broadbear,

Austin Hiskey, Jeff Jewkes, Kevin Albrecht, Charmaine Thompson, Sarah Herrera,

Tim Kennedy, Russ Bigelow, Daniel Luke, Adam Solt, Monty Cartwright, Lucy Wilkins, Shannon Hitch, Jimi Gustafson, Mat Meccariello, Theresa Nallick, Daniel Lay, Tera Lytle, Rosann Fillmore, Lindsey Winkle, Orlando Norton, Justin Bradley, Stefan Longo, Daniel Salas, Dru Crane, Matt Way, and Corinne Dalton.

 For years, a large spruce beetle epidemic and resulting wildfires have plagued the area. In collaboration with local communities, industry and state and local governments, this group identified landscape areas where fuel reduction treatments could mitigate the devastating impacts of uncharacteristically large wildfires. Signed in July of 2019, the Canyon Project authorizes the potential removal of nearly 700,000 cubic feet (CCF) of timber. The first sale within the area was purchased in September of 2019, which will allow the forest to remove 120,000 CCF. Leaning heavily on local universities, county governments and subject matter experts, this complex environmental assessment and resulting work will improve our forests and strengthen our relationships with internal and external partners, while providing economic benefits to the local community.

The Canyon Project improves watershed health, restores stand composition, reduces wildfire and stimulate aspen restoration, while benefiting local economies and industry through stewardship opportunities for many years to come.


Shared Stewardship  

Utah Shared Stewardship Agreement and Associated Action Plan

Five people standing together. Woman in the middle is holding a wooden box. In recognition of creating the Utah Shared Stewardship Agreement and associated action plan. Nora Rasure, Dan Child, Laua Ault, and Mary Farnsworth.

In recognition of the countless hours spent and passion dedicated to creating the Utah Shared Stewardship Agreement and associated action plan. Award Recipients: Dan Child, Susie Tracy, Gerry Grey, Brett Ostler, Brian Cottam, Tyler Ashcroft, Sue Stewart, Steve Beverlin, Belle Craig, Laura Ault, Tim Wagoner, Danny McBride, Trinity Bugger, Elise Boeke, and Mary Farnsworth.

This group of conservation leaders were instrumental in bringing together the State of Utah and Intermountain Region Forest Service to share ideas on how to implement the concept of Shared Stewardship. To produce a meaningful agreement, they spent countless hours identifying and crafting our commitments.  Once the agreement was in place, the team worked to implement that vision on the ground to reduce the threat of wildfire to local communities and watersheds.  In a relatively short period of time they were able to allocate money to accelerate planning and project implementation throughout the State of Utah.  During all of this, staff continued to be keenly aware of the economic impacts this agreement and action plan would have on local communities. 


Shared Stewardship Analysis Group

In recognition of your outstanding achievement in collaborative spatial analysis leading to a unified vision for shared stewardship priorities.

Five people standing together. Woman in the middle is holding a wooden box. In recognition of collaborative spatial analysis leading to a unified vision for shared stewardship priorities. Nora Rasure, Kevin Halverson, Michelle Baragona, and Mary Farnsworth.

Award Recipients: Kevin Halverson, Tim Metzger, Steve Windward, Buck Ehlers, Michelle Baragona, and Justin Johnson.

The Shared Stewardship Analysis Group figured out how to use detailed, fine scale local data and apply it to the entire state of Utah. Using story boards and detailed maps, they developed a visual interface that helps federal and state managers bring data together to answer the most important question “What’s our highest priority and best opportunity to work together in this state?” By using this tool to collaborate, we can quickly find consensus and target areas that allow us to deliver world-class science and technology to address land management challenges.


Partnerships and Volunteerism

This award recognizes outstanding efforts to achieve shared stewardship of our national forests and grasslands through partnerships and/or volunteerism.

Tincup Creek Restoration Project, Caribou-Targhee National Forest

Five people standing together. Woman in the middle is holding a wooden box. In recognition of efforts to restore and improve the stream function of Tincup Creek. Leslie Steen, Lee Mabey, Nora Rasure.

In recognition of your efforts to bring together a large group of committed partners to restore and improve the stream function of Tincup Creek

Award Recipients: Leslie Steen, Lee Mabey, Corey Lyman, Ken Obrien, Kip Obrien,

Brett Prettyman, and Doug Herzog.

This large-scale project was initiated in 2017 to improve ecosystem function and habitat for cutthroat trout and other native fish species on 5 miles of degraded stream on Tincup Creek. The Tincup Creek Steam Restoration Project received technical support and funding from the USFS, Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Jackson Hole One Fly, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited (TU), National Forest Foundation, Snake River Cutthroats TU chapter, Southeast Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Fund, Star Valley TU Chapter, TU, Orvis Embrace-a-Stream Grant Program and Challenge, USFWS, and the Western Native Trout Initiative. Additional in-kind support has been provided by Agrium, Bear Lakes Grazing Association, Caribou County, Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality, Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, Idaho Dept. of Transportation and the OW Ranch. Together, these partners have contributed almost $800,000 in funding.

Trout Unlimited has played a key role in garnering support for this important endeavor and has sponsored several volunteer days. This September volunteers constructed fence and planted willows. Later that week forest staff returned to finish the project by installing the lower fence rails, trimming posts and planting seeds--just in time for winter. 

Together: Rebuilding Tincup, a project video highlighting the partnerships by Tight Line Media is available online at: https://vimeo.com/296515761


Partnership and Volunteer Work, Salmon-Challis National Forest

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.In recognition of efforts to improve relationships within the community to support forest programs.

In recognition of your efforts to work together to improve relationships within the community to support forest programs on the North Fork, Middle Fork and Challis-Yankee Fork Ranger Districts.

Award Recipients: Jay Sammer, Phil McNeal, Raina Phillips, Brian Parker, Larry Vogel, Geoff Fast, Nick Schade, Kevin Neely, John Zap, Harry Stone, Maizie Smith, Nick Hutchins, Kyle Engnes, Cat Polgar, Lauren Blanchard, Ellis Fitzpatrick, Kahlil Tylor, Mary Satterthwaite, Francisca Harris, and Dalton Sharrow.

Over the past three years, the North Zone recreation program has worked with numerous partners to log almost 50,000 volunteer hours. Working with each group, they completed numerous projects, from placing 20 portable toilets along the Salmon River during the popular steelhead season or managing the $630,000 in grants to improve campgrounds and trails. Recently, the North Zone used a grant from Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to partially fund the installation of a boat ramp at Williams Lake. Lemhi County was a great contributing partner matching both salary and equipment to get the job done.

In addition, the Middle Fork Ranger District partnered with the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association to place volunteers at remote guard stations in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to educate boating and recreating publics about the importance of Salmon Redds in the Middle Fork. Dubbed Redd Alert! This program is jointly managed by IOGA and the Forest Service and is making great headway in educating the thousands of users who frequent this area. The positive relationships these groups are crafting allows the Salmon-Challis National Forest to deal with unique problems. When the Forest lost a quality River Ranger at the last minute, they filled the void with seven highly qualified experienced private boaters from the local community who took turns patrolling the river -- sharing their knowledge and information to other boaters. This successful program fostered understanding with the local community and helped garner a better understanding of our mission.


Recreation, Access and Infrastructure

This award recognizes major achievements in enhancing recreation opportunities, improving access and/or sustaining infrastructure.

Graffiti Abatement Focus Team, Salt Lake Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.In recognition of the collaborative effort to remove graffiti from National Forest System Lands. Peter Lenze, Bekee Hotze, Mary Young, Serena Anderson, Dave Fields, Sergeant James Blanton, and Nora Rasure.

In recognition of your collaborative approach to reduce and eliminate graffiti from National Forest System Lands.

Award Recipients: Bekee Hotze, Marshall Alford, Serena Anderson, Dave Fields, Mary Young, Scott Whipperman, Sergeant James Blanton, Julie Geisler, and Peter Lenze.

The Salt Lake Ranger District initiated a quarterly stakeholder engagement session where they target specific projects on the forest. The Graffiti Abatement Focus Team worked tirelessly to change legislation, increase enforcement, improve education and remove graffiti quickly to deter future vandals. As a result of their efforts Utah passed two pieces of legislation in 2019 making vandalism of public lands a class B misdemeanor and amending the Utah Outdoor Recreation Act to allow funds to be allocated to support graffiti removal. Many thanks go to the Utah Legislators, local law enforcement and city councilmembers who provided the support to make this happen. The current group estimates graffiti has reduced between 60-70% in Little Cottonwood Canyon. In addition to legislation, the group continues to promote a strong anti-graffiti campaign entitled “Graffiti in the Canyon” that builds awareness to the issue and remains on hand to quickly convene and remove graffiti as soon as it appears.

Forest Road Crew, Humboldt-Toiyabe National

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Road Crew, Doug Nesbit, Tony Sanchez, Brandon Lopez, Cooper Terrill, Tyler Bell and Nora Rasure.

In recognition of your dedication to assist the ranger districts and program leads on project that enhance recreation opportunities, improve access and sustain our infrastructure

Award Recipients: Doug Nesbit, Brandon Lopez, Brent Moore, Cooper Terrill,  

Llewellyn Jackson, Shawn Palmer, Tony Leveille, Tony Sanchez, Tyler Bell, and Anita Lusty.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest experienced one of its worst fire seasons in 2018. While firefighters and mother nature helped extinguish the flames, portions of the work was just starting. The Humboldt-Toiyabe road crew spent countless hours in 2019 rehabbing suppression work, installing water bars to protect historic structures, repairing damaged guardrails and placing in-stream structures to prevent excessive erosion to improve aquatic habitat. During this, they continued to complete their program of work which included building corrals, improving roads, installing drainage features, demolishing hazardous buildings, improving safety through the backfilling of abandoned mines and removing abandoned cars from public lands.

When the Lamoille Canyon Road was closed for public safety reasons, this group knew it would impact local residents and visitors. As a beloved canyon, this group worked tirelessly during cold temperatures, spending long days away from family, taking minimal time off and working through the government shutdown to ensure the road was reopened by Memorial Day.


Science and Forest Management Partnerships

This award recognizes collaborative efforts to address priority work between Forest Service researchers and other organizations’ scientists, and Intermountain Region employees.

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.In recognition of aspen restoration in Utah. Stanley Kitchen, Jason Kling, Mary O'Brien, David Tart and Nora Rasure.

In recognition of your work to foster a science and management partnership that resulted in the development of practical guidelines for restoring quaking aspens on Utah forests.

Award Recipients: Stanley Kitchen, John Guyon, Jason Kling, Patrick Behrens, David Tart, Mary O’Brien, and Ashley Green.

We have a responsibility to foster resilient and adaptive ecosystems and this can only be done through strong partnerships. Quaking aspen is a highly productive and biologically diverse plant necessary for heathy forests and wildlife habitat. Over the course of almost a decade this group developed and tested a step-by-step process for planning and implementing aspen restoration. After formalizing the collaborative and testing their theories on various projects in Utah they knew they were on to something great. Finally, in 2019, the partnership published Guidelines for Aspen Restoration in Utah with Applicability to the Intermountain West, which is a step-by-step process for gathering information and making decisions in a manner that is easily adapted by managers across different landscapes.

Regional Law Enforcement and Investigation

This award recognizes outstanding collaborative efforts by FS Law Enforcement and Investigation to work with District and Forest employees, and/or other entities to achieve shared priorities.

Emily Crowe, Law Enforcement and Investigations, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

In recognition of your efforts of going above and beyond while responding to an S.O.S call

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.In recognition of Law Enforcement efforts. Mike Mckinney, Emily Crowe, and Nora Rasure.

After finishing her shift, Law Enforcement Officer Crowe was contacted by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office and notified of an inReach GPS S.O.S activation. The location was over 200 miles away, but due to an ongoing situation in Nye County, the Sheriff was unavailable. Officer Crowe didn’t hesitate. Grabbing her gear, she made the 200-mile journey deep into the backcountry. When conditions made it impossible for vehicle travel, Officer Crowe continued on foot until she located the individual who was stuck deep in mud. Officer Crowe escorted Mr. Ringland back to her vehicle and drove him to Austin, Nevada, where he was able to secure a hotel room and make arrangements for a tow truck. The next day, after arriving home at 8:30 a.m. Officer Crowe went the extra mile by contacting Mr. Ringland to make sure he was safe, and his vehicle was okay. Truly caring about the people she was serving made a lasting impression on Mr. Ringland and resonated to who we are and who we should strive to be. As Mr. Ringland wrote later to our agency “From your and her perspective, this is no doubt just something that happens in the line of duty. But what she did – coming out in the middle of the night when working out of Ely, 200 road miles from where my car was stuck; beginning to arrange the wrecker that evening; and adding in a three-mile round-trip hike in at the end – combines in my mind to be well ‘above and beyond.’”


District Ranger of the Year

This award recognizes a District Ranger whose leadership embodies the five values of the Forest Service and demonstrates the successful application of the Leaders Stance and Habits from “This is Who We Are.”

Woman wearing a wide brimmed hat.Kristy Groves, Duchesne-Roosevelt District Ranger and Nora Rasure.

Kristy Groves, Duchesne-Roosevelt Ranger District, Ashley National Forest

Kristy embodies the proud heritage and core values of the U.S. Forest Service while exhibiting the values we seek to nurture and develop in “This is Who We Are.” She is deeply connected to the land she manages and the people she supervises. Her dedication to these beliefs is present in the work she pursues, such as serving as a teaching cadre member for National Line Officer NEPA Leadership, serving as the vice chair for the National NEPA Line Officer Team, and filling the role of the subcommittee lead for the NEPA innovations working group. Additionally, Kristy chairs the Region 4 Ranger Council and serves as a member of the Region 4 Leadership Experience Advisory and Development Team. Through all this, Kristy still manages to be keenly focused on service, conservation, safety and commitment to her ranger district. She works with a variety of partners to improve trail access, continue restoration work on the 2018 Dollar Ridge Fire and serve her employees with respect.