Announced in April at the Society’s annual meeting, Forester of the Year honors outstanding contributions to the forestry profession and society. Selection is made by the five prior Foresters of the Year.
A member of the Society of American Foresters since 1999, he was honored for two decades of effort in making forestry knowledge accessible to small forest landowners.
“My goal is to empower people to make informed decisions about their property,” Zobrist said. “My role is not to tell people what to do, but to provide objective, research-based information to help people make decisions as they pursue their goals and objectives. I hate to see property owners make decisions that are counter-productive to their objectives, due to a lack of information.”
Zobrist provides workshops and interpretive programs, including popular forest stewardship “Coached Planning” short courses, as well as technical manuals, guides and publications, such as his award-winning Forester’s Notes column, part of the WSU Puget Sound Extension Forestry newsletter.
By combining his forestry education, communication skills, and passion for helping others to care for forests and woodlands, Zobrist’s work has benefitted thousands of individuals and families with forested lands throughout the region, heightened their interests, and educated them on the values of sound forest management, affecting forests for many generations to come.
“I’d like to thank all of our partners and collaborators that make our education programs possible,” he said. “None of the work I do happens in a vacuum—it’s a team effort that includes the WSU Extension Forestry Team, the Department of Natural Resources, counties, conservation districts, and many others. My thanks also to the landowners we serve, who make this job such a pleasure to do.”
With nearly 750 members in 12 chapters, including four student groups, throughout the state, WSSAF is one of the largest state affiliates of the national society. Members play an important role in managing Washington’s 22 million acres of forest, protecting resources including wildlife, water, recreation, timber, and other forest products.