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Joanne Rebbeck Receives First Felix Ponder Award of Excellence

Delaware, OH, September 18, 2012 - Dr. Joanne Rebbeck, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Delaware, Ohio, has been named as the first recipient of the Station’s new Felix Ponder Award of Excellence.

“This is truly such a great honor and so humbling,” Rebbeck said. “I appreciate the recognition, and I appreciate the support I’ve received for my work with young people.”

The award honors the late Dr. Felix Ponder, Jr., a soil scientist with the NRS for more than 30 years who combined excellence in science with deep commitment to making a difference in people’s lives. Prior to moving to Columbia, Mo., Ponder worked for 18 years on the campus of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., serving 3 years as a project leader of the second research work unit in the nation to be located on the campus of an historically black college or university. His work with students was instrumental in drawing people into natural resource careers.

“Everyone who met Felix came away with a new friend,” said Northern Research Station Director Michael T. Rains. “He set the standard for truly being inclusive in everything he touched in his life, and I am so pleased that Joanne Rebbeck was selected as the first recipient of this award. Like Felix, Joanne has made both a personal and professional commitment to participation in programs that connect young people from diverse backgrounds with natural resource science.”  

Over the course of nearly 25 years with the Forest Service, Rebbeck’s career has shifted from studying the physiological responses of trees to air pollution to research on oak regeneration and most recently to researching a potential ink between fire and the spread of the invasive Ailanthus tree. For the past 20 years, she has served as a mentor, hands-on presenter and a judge at local and district science fairs. More recently, she began working with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Ohio to bring urban youth to the forest to develop meaningful connections with the outdoors.

“I find it very rewarding,” Rebbeck said. “Kids are very energizing – they are masters at thinking outside the box!”  

The award will be formally presented to Rebbeck in November.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a mission of sustaining the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The mission of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit www.fs.usda.gov/.

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Last modified: September 18, 2012