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Board of Forestry recognizes outstanding forest educators
Contacts: Doug Decker, 503-701-0236
Susan Sahnow, 541-737-3005
 
The Oregon Board of Forestry today recognized individual educators and a 30-plus year forest education program for excellence in forestry education. The Mary Rellergert Forestry Education Awards, which honor individuals and organizations making significant contributions to public education and understanding of forestry in Oregon, was presented to Lori LaMarche, a science teacher at Stayton High School; Jon Mayer, former Forest Interpretation and Education Specialist on the Santiam State Forest (and current 4-H Youth Development Coordinator for Multnomah County); and Starker Forests and their Public Outreach Forester Dick Powell, Philomath.
 
The award honors Oregon Department of Forestry’s former Tillamook State Forest Education Coordinator, Mary Rellergert, who passed away in February 2004. Rellergert was a highly regarded forest education leader and founder of the Tillamook State Forest Education Program, which provides high quality forest learning experiences for K-12 students at the Tillamook Forest Center.
 
Lori LaMarche, Stayton
Lori has been a science teacher at Stayton High School for 17 years, during which time she has focused her students on learning about and connecting with forest resources, ecology, biology and wildfire. Recently, Lori led development of a partnership program to create a 36-week high school course—called Introduction to Forest Resources—that integrates classroom instruction, guest speakers and field labs. She’s also created an articulation agreement with Chemeketa Community College that allows students to earn five college credits for course completion. Lori has initiated and coordinated the science club and the Associated Oregon Forestry Club at Stayton High. Lori has been actively involved as a facilitator with the Oregon Natural Resources Education Program since 1999. In this role she helps teachers grasp the possibilities of integrating natural resources into their area of study.
 
Jon Mayer, Salem
Jon was instrumental in the development and implementation of forest education and interpretation programs in the Santiam State Forest east of Salem. Working out of the Santiam Unit Office at Lyons starting in 2001, Jon singlehandedly created curricula and partnerships that resulted in highly sought after on-site and in-classroom natural resource education programs that have reached thousands of students. He extended this learning with a popular weekend 4-H Natural Resources Club for interested students to further explore forestry topics. Jon was also a prime mover in the creation of recreation and interpretation facilities on the Santiam State Forest in the Shellburg Falls area. He currently serves as Multnomah County’s 4-H Youth Development Coordinator, which is part of the OSU Extension Program.
 
Starker Forests, Philomath & Dick Powell, Public Outreach Forester
Starker Forests, located near Philomath, have provided a rich variety of forest learning experiences and opportunities for decades, welcoming young and old alike to participate in programs or just stroll interpretive trails on the privately-owned forest land west of Corvallis. Over the years, Starker Forests has led or partnered in the development of numerous outstanding forestry education efforts including Corvallis Outdoor School, the Corvallis/Philomath Natural Resource Day, the annual Starker Tree Planting event, assistance with the Alsea Forestry Camp, dozens of scouting and school related projects and many other events and activities.
 
Starker Forests also offers weekly public education tours which culminate with a walk on the Starker Memorial Trail, an excellent guided interpretive walk through young and older forests. Leading development of these many activities and opportunities has been Dick Powell, a 36-year forester for Starker who has become an institution among the Corvallis-Philomath natural resource education community. Dick’s creativity and leadership, and his dedication, has helped thousands of school children, families, youth groups, tourists, neighbors, teachers, scout leaders and others make a special connection with Oregon forests.
 
The 2009 Rellergert Forestry Education Award winners were selected from a list of nominees by a panel of forestry educators from the Oregon Natural Resources Education Program at the Oregon State University College of Forestry, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and past recipients of the award.
 
NOTE TO EDITORS:  Photos of the recipients receiving their awards—and of them in action conducting forest education programs—are available. Contact Doug Decker, 503-701-0236, ddecker@odf.state.or.us