Forestry professors and students receive national recognition

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 25, 2005 – Two Virginia Tech professors in the College of Natural Resources and the university’s Society of American Foresters student chapter received awards for their accomplishments at the Society of American Foresters 2005 national convention held in Fort Worth, Texas, earlier this month.

James Johnson of Blacksburg, professor of forestry and associate dean of outreach, received the Technology Transfer Award. The award included a $1,000 honorarium in recognition of outstanding achievement in technology transfer, implementation, and extension by a society member as evidenced in the recipient’s career or involvement with SAF Working Groups and Science Program activities.

Michael Mortimer, assistant professor of forestry, received the Young Forester Leadership Award for 2005. This award along with a $500 honorarium recognized the outstanding leadership by a young forestry professional in the development and promotion of an individual program, or for a sustained leadership role that benefits the practice of forestry and the society.

The society also honored the Virginia Tech Society of American Foresters student chapter with the Student Chapter of the Year Award. This award is based on service to student members, the forestry department, the college, and the Blacksburg community, as well as to the Society of American Foresters. The student chapter was one of only a few SAF chapters in the nation to demonstrate an increase in membership.

Johnson is an expert in both forestry and informal, adult education. “His skill at planning and conducting technology transfer and extension programs, coupled with his energy, enthusiasm, and work ethic, make him a prolific writer, a programmatic innovator, and an exceptional educator,” said Harold Burkhart, head of the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources’ Department of Forestry.

Johnson received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University, a master’s degree from the University of Maine, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech.

Mortimer teaches forest resource law and policy at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources, “where his passion for forestry policy transfers to his students, who have consistently given him high marks for his presentation skills and for making his courses both engaging and relevant,” noted Burkhart.

Mortimer received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Jefferson University, a jurist doctor degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Montana.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.