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Stu Otto, Redmond, receives national field forester award
Contact: Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425

Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Stu Otto has received the 2009 Presidential Field Forester award from the Society of American Foresters (SAF) for his work to assist private landowners with the management of their forests. The national honor also credits Otto with helping central Oregon communities reduce the risk of wildfire to their homes and businesses.
 
In his 30-year career as a field forester with ODF, he has aided forest owners by writing management plans, administering cost-share programs, and providing one-on-one technical help. Eastern Oregon landowners Lynne and John Breese described the hands-on assistance that led to the certification of their forest under the Oregon Tree Farm system.
 
“He spent hours going over our logging sites, explaining and helping us improve what we were doing,” the Breese’s said. “He was one to walk the whole skid trail, not just what you could see from the landing.”
 
In 2002 when residents of the Fall River area southwest of Bend became concerned at the threat of wildfire to their communities, Otto began working with the local homeowners association to clear brush on more than 100 home sites that posed a fire threat to adjacent homes.
 
“Stu set goals for us and he nudged us toward them with his remarkable ability to encourage and give guidance and direction to others,” Aileen and Russ Wing of Fall River Estates said.
 
As a result of the community’s efforts guided by the forester, Fall River Estates became the first Firewise Community in Oregon and received national recognition. The Firewise Communities program seeks to involve homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers and others in the effort to protect people, property and natural resources from the risk of wildland fire.
 
“Stu’s enjoyment in his work and his dedication to maintaining healthy forests while protecting both private and public property was obvious,” they said.
 
The Presidential Field Forester award is given to “recognize foresters who have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry on the ground using sound, scientific methods and adaptive management strategies.” SAF bestows the award annually to foresters across the U.S. Otto received the District II award, which encompasses Oregon.
 
Following graduation from Michigan Technological University in 1974, he worked briefly for the Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station in Boise, Idaho, before his hire by ODF in 1978. Over the years he was stationed in Klamath Falls, Fossil and Lakeview in various field forester positions, and then moved to Prineville in 1990 to take a service forester job, the position he currently holds.
 
Throughout his career he has been an active member of SAF, serving in leadership roles.
Otto resides in Redmond with his wife Deb.