The Virginia Forestry Association (VFA) presents its 2020 Distinguished Service Award to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Forestry Team.

Team members recognized include Scott Barrett, Neil Clark, Adam Downing, Jason Fisher, Jennifer Gagnon, Dan Goerlich, Karen Snape and Bill Worrell.

Fisher serves the Central District Region as the extension agent of agriculture and natural resources in Halifax.

VFA’s Distinguished Service Award was created to give public recognition to individuals, groups, associations and/or companies and corporations that have made a significant, continuing and lasting contribution to the conservation of Virginia’s forest resources and/or the enhancement of Virginia’s forest-based community.

Since the creation of the first field-based Extension Forester position in 1999, the Extension Forestry Team has engaged with tens of thousands of Virginia landowners, loggers and foresters in numerous ways. The current team of four field-based Extension Foresters and four campus-based Extension specialists & associates are among the most present and supportive entities in Virginia forestry.

Team members serve their communities well, working with various members of the forest industry, sister agencies and receptive learners, and are quick to navigate a situation and either lead or support as seen fit.

In 2019, they reached over 10,000 landowners, over 1,000 SHARP loggers and approximately 900 fellow natural resource professionals. Taken as a whole, the area of forestland impacted by these individuals exceeds 130,000 acres annually.

Education programs and events connected with or led by team members include the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program (VFLEP), SHARP Logger Program, Generation NEXT, Real Forestry for Real Estate, Forestry for Teacher programs, Forest Farming Collaborative, Silvopasture Initiative, Virginia’s Link to Education About Forests (LEAF), Virginia Master Naturalist Program, Tree Steward Volunteers and Urban Forestry Roundtables.

Not only do team members serve Virginia forestry community through their jobs, but they also serve in a volunteer capacity with participation on various forestry-related Boards and committees including, but not limited to, VFA’s Board of Directors, the Virginia Forestry Summit Planning Committee, the Virginia Tree Farm Board of Directors, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee, executive committees for the Appalachian chapter of Society of American Foresters and the Virginia division of that chapter, Trees Virginia Board of Directors, Virginia Project Learning Tree Steering Committee, Virginia Urban Wood Group and Virginia Department of Forestry’s Stewardship Committee and Research Review Board.

“There is no doubt that their work has benefitted thousands of people and tens of thousands of acres of forestland,” said Greg Scheerer with WestRock. “These folks deserve recognition for their roles in VA’s forestry community.”

Founded in 1943, the Virginia Forestry Association (VFA) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of representing Virginia’s diverse forestry community and promoting the sustainable use and conservation of forest resources to ensure their long term social benefits for all Virginians.

VFA consists of a diverse membership, including forest landowners, foresters, forest products businesses, loggers, forestry consultants, and a variety of individuals and groups who are concerned about the future well-being of Virginia’s forest resources and are willing to collaborate for the good of the industry.

VFA seeks to be the unifying voice of Virginia’s forestry community through advocacy, outreach and communications that enhance the public’s perception of the industry.

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