Knowledge exchange forester Becky Bittner is Research and Development's 2019 recipient of the "Gifford Pinchot Excellence in Interpretation and Conservation Education Award." Bittner—based in Portland, Oregon, and a member of the Pacific Northwest Research Station's Communications and Applications Group—was recognized for being a charismatic leader in conservation education and making meaningful connections with the public.
For more than 20 years, Bittner has worked with partners to coordinate the delivery of high-quality, science-based education about forests, grasslands, and natural resources to pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students and their teachers, in both classroom and outdoor settings. Over the years, she has led numerous extremely popular and influential youth programs, including the Inner City Youth Institute, Forests Inside Out!, the Oregon State University/4-H Forest Explorers program, science-based interpretive programs at Mount St. Helens National Monument, and dozens of science fairs and community events. In all, she has reached the lives of more than 8,000 children, many from underserved backgrounds. She joined the Forest Service in 1989 and holds a master's degree in forest management and administration from Oregon State University.
The Forest Service's national Gifford Pinchot award annually recognizes the exceptional work of employees in the fields of interpretation and conservation education. Bittner and the eight regional winners were honored at the 2019 National Association for Intrepretation annual conference in Denver, Colorado, in November.