University of Maine School of Forest Resources Receives Prestigious Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award
November 16, 2023
For more information contact: Jim Britt at: Jim.Britt@maine.gov
Augusta, Maine - In a ceremony at the Blaine House yesterday, Governor Janet Mills, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner Amanda Beal, Maine Forest Service (MFS) Director Patty Cormier, and Maine TREE Executive Director Logan Johnson, presented the prestigious 2023 Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award to the University of Maine's School of Forest Resources (SFR) at the College of Earth, Life, and Health Sciences.
The Austin Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award is the highest forestry recognition in the state, annually celebrating individuals, groups, organizations, and companies who demonstrate exceptional dedication and outstanding contributions to preserving Maine's forest culture, heritage, and future. University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy and SFR Director, Dr. William H. Livingston, accepted the award on behalf of the University.
"Maine's forests have always been, and will always be, a cornerstone of our economy and the character of our state. For more than a century, the University of Maine has been central to preserving and enhancing the vitality of our woods and forest economy," said Governor Mills. "I congratulate the School of Forest Resources on this well-deserved honor and thank them, on behalf of the people of Maine, for their continued work to steward this resource that is so vital to Maine lives and livelihoods."
"This recognition highlights the University of Maine's exceptional dedication and contributions to preserving Maine's forestry history and preparing our forest stewards of today and the future," stated DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal. "I sincerely appreciate the University staff for building a strong and enduring program focused on the forests' pivotal role in our state's climate resilience strategy."
"This award recognizes SFR's outstanding contributions and serves as a testament to the enduring impact of Maine's forests on our quality of life and economy," said Maine State Forester and SFR alum Patty Cormier. "Congratulations to my University friends and colleagues on this well-deserved recognition."
"This recognition underscores our commitment to research and education that drive sustainable management of Maine's forest resources. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the dedicated faculty, staff, students, and alumni who shape SFR's leadership and impact in our state," said University of Maine and University of Maine at Machias President and Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation of the University of Maine System Joan Ferrini-Mundy."
"For 120 years, the success of the University of Maine forest resource programs has depended on the hard work of faculty, students, and alumni, plus the tremendous support we receive from Maine's forest resource community. By continuing to work together in our teaching, research, and outreach missions, we will continue to be a force in the stewardship of Maine's forests as we strive to follow the trail blazed by Austin Wilkins," said SFR Director William Livingston.
"Celebrating those who have dedicated their lives to advancing and promoting sustainable forest stewardship practices is essential in inspiring future generations to continue this important work. The contributions of the University of Maine School of Forest Resources to the health and sustainability of Maine's forests will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our forest for generations to come," said Maine TREE Executive Director Logan Johnson.
The Austin H. Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award, bestowed annually through a partnership between the DACF and the Maine Timber Research & Environmental Education Foundation, is a prestigious accolade. Since 2004, the award has recognized landowners, individuals, and organizations that exemplify exceptional and sustainable forest management practices, echoing the vision of the award's namesake, Austin H. Wilkins.
Mr. Wilkins pioneered the development of the MFS and dedicated his life to safeguarding Maine's forests, notably leading the fight against the devastating forest fires in 1947. His unwavering commitment to forest stewardship and his instrumental role in establishing a forest fire compact among New England states, New York, New Brunswick, and Quebec have left an indelible mark on our state's history.
Established in 1902 through a $2,500 legislative grant to initiate "public education in forestry," the SFR aims to provide excellence in teaching, research, and public service that promotes the understanding, efficient use, and sustainable management of forest resources. With almost 90% of Maine covered by forest, forest resources are central to the state's quality of life and economy. The SFR provides essential forestry education and research and is a signature area of the University of Maine. Since SFR first offered classes in 1903, more than 5,000 Bachelor of Science, 100 Master of Forestry, 500 Master of Science, and 150 Ph.D. students graduated from UMaine's forest resource programs.
Front, left to right, University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, SFR Director William Livingston, Governor Janet Mills; Rear, left to right, SFR Professor Dave Field, student Logan Quinn, student Peter Herrick, student Garrett Laffler, student Anasuya Schmidt, student Tyler Locke, SFR Professor Stephen Shaler, student Kathryn Bartlett, SFR Professor Keith Kanoti, DACF Commissioner Amanda Beal, Maine Tree Foundation Executive Director Logan Johnson, MFS Director Patty Cormier.