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Extension faculty members capture national, regional awards


BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 22, 2012 – Virginia Cooperative Extension faculty members in the College of Natural Resources and Environment recently took home a number of national and regional awards.

“I am continually impressed with our Extension faculty and the work they do for citizens of the commonwealth,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “We have an exceptionally strong group of faculty who work together collegially to increase their knowledge transfer. Garnering recognition on the national and regional level for their work only magnifies the importance of their effort.”

“This recognition demonstrates Virginia Cooperative Extension’s commitment to providing superior programming to strengthen Virginia’s forestry and natural resources industries,” said Edwin Jones, director Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Virginia is fortunate to have so many talented and dedicated professionals serving its communities.”

Extension professionals garnered three gold-level achievement and educational materials awards from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals, a national organization that represents extension professionals in the disciplines of environmental education, fisheries, forestry, wood sciences, range, recreation, waste management, water, and wildlife.

  • Individual Program Leadership Gold Award: Virginia SHARP Logger Program; Extension Associate Scott Barrett

    The Virginia SHARP (Sustainable Harvest and Resource Professional) Logger Program trains loggers, foresters and others in safety, sustainable forestry principles, and best management practices.

  • Newsletter/Series of Articles Gold Award: Virginia Forest Landowner Update; Extension Associate Jennifer Gagnon

    The Virginia Forest Landowner Update newsletter provides landowners with the latest forestry and wildlife management information, useful resources, and updates bout threats from invasive species.

  • Video/DVD/CD Gold Award: Four Minutes to a Better Backyard; Senior Extension Agent Adam Downing (with James Finley of Penn State Extension and alumnus Jonathan Kays of University of Maryland Extension, who earned a master’s degree from Virginia Tech in 1985)

    The Four Minutes to a Better Backyard video encourages landowners to create or enhance natural areas and woodlands for a healthier outdoor environment.

The Virginia Tech contingent won six out of 20 Awards for Excellence from the Southern Regional Extension Forestry program, which assists natural resource educators and technology transfer specialists in 13 states to facilitate more efficient programming. Entries are judged for their innovativeness, impact, the role of the nominees, and their ability to be replicated in other states, as well as other indicators of quality.
  • Extension Publication Gold Award: Guide to Threatened and Endangered Species on Private Lands in Virginia; Extension associates Jennifer Gagnon and Scott Barrett and Associate Professor and Extension Specialist James Parkhurst
  • Journal Publication Gold Award: Virginia SHARP Logger Survey: Characteristics of Virginia’s Logging Businesses; Extension Associate Scott Barrett, Assistant Professor M. Chad Bolding, and Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist John Munsell
  • Journal Publication Gold Award: An Analysis of the Feasibility for Increasing Woody Biomass Production From Pine Plantations in the Southern United States; Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist John Munsell (with Virginia Tech Professor Thomas Fox)
  • Computer Software and/or Website Silver Award: A Search Indeed: How to Conduct a Property Deed Search; Extension associates Matthew Brinckman and Scott Barrett
  • Extension Newsletter Silver Award: Virginia Forest Landowner Update; Extension Associate Jennifer Gagnon
  • National/International Project Silver Award: Wood Bioenergy Assessments in Support of the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program; Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist John Munsell, Assistant Professor M. Chad Bolding, and John Ignosh, Extension specialist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

“It’s an honor to be recognized both regionally and nationally for my Extension programming efforts,” said Jennifer Gagnon, whose Virginia Forest Management Update newsletter was recognized by both entities. “The real reward, however, is being able to work with the wonderful Virginia landowners and natural resource professionals who are essential to the success of my programs.”

“The awards demonstrate the power of collaboration across disciplines and appointments,” said John Munsell, who was involved in three award-winning ventures, including a national project lauded for its interdisciplinary scope. “It is an honor to be recognized in such a fashion by my colleagues.”

The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, which consistently ranks among the top three programs of its kind in the nation, advances the science of sustainability. Programs prepare the future generation of leaders to address the complex natural resources issues facing the planet. World-class faculty lead transformational research that complements the student learning experience and impacts citizens and communities across the globe on sustainability issues, especially as they pertain to water, climate, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, sustainable biomaterials, ecosystems, and geography. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech serves the Commonwealth of Virginia in teaching, research, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.