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Northern Research Station Director's Awards

Michael T. Rains, director of the Northern Research Station (NRS) and acting director of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), recently announced the 2013 recipients of the NRS and FPL scientific and administrative achievement awards. These awardees will then be eligible for the national-level Chief’s awards.


[photo] Kevin T. SmithDr. Kevin T. Smith, a research plant physiologist at Durham, NH, received the Distinguished Science Award for his ongoing research accomplishments centering on the response of trees to injury, infection, and environmental change. Smith began his research in 1977 as a Masters student with Dr. Walter Shortle in the pioneering Forest Service research unit led by Dr. Alex Shigo, which developed the concept of compartmentalization of infection and tree decay. Smith extended scientific understanding of the mechanisms of compartmentalization within the living tree and across forest stands in a series of FS post-doctoral assignments. Since his career appointment in 1986, Smith has had a key role in the identification of calcium biogeochemistry as a cornerstone of forest health, particularly for forests sensitive to acid rain. His findings on tree recovery after fire and ice storm injury have become standard references. His research on wood chemistry greatly influences forensic dendrochemistry which seeks to identify the timing of environmental releases of pollutants. Smith maintains a robust educational and technology transfer program for diverse stakeholders including foresters, arborists, landscape designers, and amateur mycologists. His research presentations have been included in performance art pieces as well as in educational sessions for state police investigators. Smith has received numerous awards for research and teaching and has been profiled in publications from Weatherwise to Chemical & Engineering News.


Stephen SebestyenDr. Stephen Sebestyen, a research hydrologist at Grand Rapids, MN, received the Early-Career Scientist Award for his work on understanding hydrological and biogeochemical processes in ecosystems. He studies how complex ecosystem processes affect the flow of water and solutes through the environment using traditional hydrological analyses, high-frequency chemical sampling, and isotopic tracers. He has specialized in investigating nitrogen pollution in ecosystems, carbon cycling in peatlands, effects of climate variability on hydrology, interactions of dissolved organic matter with mercury and other trace metals, and quantifying effects of landscape disturbance on water and solutes yields. Sebestyen joined the NRS in 2007 while working on his PhD degree, which he received from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry in 2008.


from left to right Maria Janowiak, Stephen Handler, Leslie Brandt, Chris Swanston, Patricia Butler, Kristen Schmitt, Danielle Shannon, not pictured: Karena Schmidt, Kate Heckman, Luke Nave, Matt PowersThe Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) Team received the NRS Excellence in Science and Technology Award. NIACS works with forest managers to develop climate-adaptive practices, directly integrating conceptual approaches into on-the-ground natural resource management that will continue to sustain forests and the communities that rely on them. As well, NIACS leads the International Soil Carbon Network, Climate Change Response Framework, and USFS Climate Change Resource Center, creating products and harnessing innovation of hundreds of people and dozens of agencies and groups. The team is led by Chris Swanston (NRS) and includes Leslie Brandt, Patricia Butler, Stephen Handler, Kate Heckman, Maria Janowiak, Luke Nave, Matt Powers, Karena Schmidt, Kristen Schmitt, and Danielle Shannon.


The All-Cultures-Week Planning Team received the Cultural Transformation Award for their innovative presentations and training programs on civil rights issues for 500+ employees across the Forest Service, by a variety of electronic media. The topics included ethnic, disability, and LGBT issues and workforce diversity. After the meetings, the Deputy Director of the OPM Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Bruce Stewart, stated: “The approach used, the way we utilized technology, the cross collaboration and partnering across the agency is a “Best Practice” in government programs.” The team, led by Sheree Johnson (NRS), comprises Ivalee Church (NRS), Mike Dockry (NA, FPL, & NRS), Diane Gardin (NRS), Cheryl Jefferson (SRS), Barbara Johnson (NRS), Victor Mercado (NRS), Iris Montague (NRS), Winnie Owens (NA), Lucretia Stewart (NRS), Nancy Sutherland-Ross (FPL), Judy Terrell (NRS), and Devin Wanner (NA).

Last Modified: July 3, 2013