In honor of outstanding contributions to environmental education in Western Maryland, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science's Appalachian Laboratory has selected the Forestry Technology Program at Allegany College as recipient of its 2013 Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award. Beginning with eight students in 1968, the program has grown to produce 580 graduates who are helping to manage our natural resources, as well as making contributions to the health of our urban forests.
“From monitoring natural and man-made hazards, to exercising good forest management, the Forestry Technology Department at Allegany College is training the next generation of men and women responsible for conserving the great outdoors," said Dr. Ray Morgan, Acting Director of the Appalachian Laboratory.
The Forest Technology Program faculty being honored includes retired faculty Glenn O. Workman, Chair of the Sciences Division who spearheaded the program in 1968; William L. Cones, the first Director of the Forestry Program who introduced a more "hands on" approach to the curriculum and sought initial recognition by the Society of American Foresters in 1970; and Rex Harper, the second full-time forester to teach in the program. Today, Science Department Chair John Jastrzembski, Program Coordinator Steve Resh, Professor Jim Howell, and Forestry Technician Marie Perrin Miller have been guiding the forestry curriculum into the 21st century.
The Forestry Program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF), and is one of only 22 accredited programs in North America. Most recently, Forest Technology students collected data in Savage River State Forest for a project in conjunction with Frostburg State University and the Maryland State Department of Natural Resources. The project is part of the long-term monitoring (20+ years) of forest stands severely impacted by infestations of European Gypsy moths. Graduates find careers as arborists, forest rangers and technicians, resource managers, wildfire specialists, and soil conservationists.
The award honors the memory of Richard A. Johnson, a well-known orthopedic surgeon in the Allegany County area. He passed away in 1990, leaving a legacy of a caring and dedicated physician, family man, and naturalist. The Appalachian Laboratory honors his memory through its promotion of environmental education in Western Maryland and the people who excel in its practice.
The Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award provides $2,000 to support further environmental education activities. The endowment supporting the award was made possible through the generous support of Allegheny Power, NewPage Corporation, Alliance Resource Partners (Mettiki Coal), and numerous other donors over the past decade. Generous sponsors of this year's program include AES Warrior Run, Mettiki Coal, NewPage Paper, Allegany College, Savage River Lodge, Deep Creek Cellars, and numerous friends.
Past recipients of the Richard A. Johnson Environmental Education Award include: former Times-News columnist Ken Hodgdon (1991); Frostburg State University Professor Emeritus Don Emerson (1991); retired teacher Nan Livingston (1992); retired teacher Charles Strauss Sr. (1993); former Appalachian Laboratory Director Kent Fuller (1996); Department of Natural Resources project manager Bernard Zlomek (2001); Hickory Environmental Education Center coordinator Joseph Winters (2002); former Frostburg State University Biology Department Head Melvin Brown (2003); Beall High School Environmental Educator Kenneth Baxter (2004); Allegany High School Ecology Club mentor Alan Hammond (2005); Route 40 Elementary School Principal Patrick Delaney (2006); Garrett College Professor Kevin Dodge (2007); Maryland Park Service’s Jeffrey Ruark (2007); George’s Creek Watershed Association founder Robert Miller (2009); Maryland Park Service’s Sarah Milbourne (2010), and Maryland Department of Natural Resource's Ranger Caroline Blizzard (2011); and Dr. Dana McCauley and Crellin Elementary School (2012).
Founded in 1961, the Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, Maryland is one of five research centers that make up the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The lab focuses its research on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, how they function in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and how human activity may influence their health and sustainability on local, regional and global scales.