For the Cumberland Times-News
FROSTBURG — In recognition 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.
“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 Ray Morgan, acting director of the Appalachian Laboratory.
The Forest Technology Program faculty being honored include 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 program is accredited by the Society of American Foresters and is one of 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-plus years) of forest stands severely impacted by infestations of European Gypsy moths.
Graduates of the program 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 died in 1990, leaving a legacy of a caring and dedicated physician, family man and naturalist.
The award provides $2,000 to support further environmental education activities.