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National awards honor Extension Forestry team’s online education efforts

Forestry webinar
In an Extension field day video, DNR Stewardship Forester Matt Provencher talks about using variable density thinning to improve forest diversity. WSU Extension Foresters developed innovative webinars using field videos to educate landowners virtually.

Members of the WSU Extension Forestry team earned three honors from the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals (ANREP) as part of their 2021 Awards Program.

ANREP is the national association for cooperative extension professionals working in a wide range of related disciplines, from environmental education, water, and wildlife, to fisheries, forestry, and range science.

The ANREP Awards Program helps encourage high standards and innovative programs by recognizing great achievements in natural resources extension.

Silver for Forester’s Notes
Kevin Zobrist, a WSU professor overseeing forestry in Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties, won the Silver Award in the newsletter/article series category for his 2020 Forester’s Notes column.

Forester’s Notes are part of the WSU Puget Sound Extension Forestry newsletter, published several times per year. Zobrist’s column is a reflection of life lessons and current events as they relate to forest stewardship. Based on surveys and landowner feedback, this is the most popular section of the newsletter. The 2020 Forester’s Notes reflected on the pandemic, environmental justice, and the similarities between forest ecosystem dynamics and our own growth and struggles. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Gold, Silver webinar awards
WSU forestry educators Andy Perleberg, Brendan Whyte, Patrick Shults, Sean Alexander, and Zobrist earned the national Gold Award for their Online Forest Owners’ Field Day, part of the video conference and webinar category.

After in-person field days were halted during the pandemic, Extension Forestry members, with the assistance of the Department of Natural Resources and other partners, launched this online field day to continue serving Northwest landowners. The event was created using a combination of live and pre-recorded content, including in-field videos and live question-and-answer sessions.

Tree rings
In a field day video, WSU Extension Forestry Professor Kevin Zobrist talks about the impact of stand density of tree ring growth.

Whyte and Zobrist, who lead the Puget Sound Extension Forestry Program, received the Silver Award in the same category for their 2020 Forest Stewardship Webinar Series. More than 2,200 people participated in this 24-webinar series during spring and summer 2020, greatly exceeding expectations. Most participants were new to an Extension Forestry program. A follow-up evaluation found a strong demand for more programs. Learn more about WSU Extension Forestry webinars on the events homepage.

“These awards are, in a sense, our way of overcoming COVID-19,” Zobrist said. “We took a bad situation and turned it into award-winning programming. It’s really nice to be recognized by our peers, but even more gratifying are the many messages we’ve received from readers and participants about how these resources have helped them and made things a little brighter during the pandemic.”

Participants told Extension hosts that the online field days were a great substitute for hands-on experience, offering a breadth of topics and a combination of science, visuals, and information. “The videos made the presentations as real as they can get these days,” one stakeholder said.

Zobrist thanked Extension Forestry’s funding partners for the support of the webinars. Partners included local counties, the Snohomish Conservation District, and the Society of American Foresters. In-kind support was provided by Washington State Department of Natural Resources and other partner organizations.

Media Contacts

Kevin Zobrist, Professor, Extension Forestry,