Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The USDA Forest Service announced the Regional Forester awardees Wednesday, naming those who provided exceptional service to the public, as well as other acts.

The categories in an annual USDA Forest Service awards recognition program may look different this year, focusing on the agency’s core values of diversity, service, safety, interdependence, and conservation, but what remains consistent is the dedication of its nearly five hundred regional employees to ‘caring for the land and serving people’.

The yearly Regional Forester’s Awards names individuals and teams throughout the Alaska Region in recognition of exceptional service to the public, excellent teamwork achieved both internally and externally, and the dedication and tenacity of employees and partners.

The 2022 Regional Forester’s Awardees are:
•    Employees of the Year Award: Aubree Benson and Mallory Munz, Grants Management Specialists
•    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award: Cody Kapotak, Civil Engineer, Chugach National Forest
•    Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group Award: Tongass National Forest Heritage Team: Risa Carlson, Shona Donnelley, Gina Esposito, Michelle Gray, Tim Marshall, Lydia Mills, Rachel Myron, Jane Smith, and Raeanna Woods
•    Conservation Award: Heather Thamm, Biological Science Technician, Chugach National Forest
•    Conservation Group Award: Resurrection Creek Partnerships: Brian Bair, Adam Cross, Angela Coleman, Austin Williams, Patrick Shannon, and Al Johnson
•    Partnership and Public Engagement Award: DeAnna Perry, Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Coordinator
•    Partnership and Public Engagement Group Award: Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy Team: Barb Miranda, Riley Stadt, Jean Daniels, Erica Keene, Kevin Hood, Kelly O’Soup, Mallory Munz, Nicole Olsen, Michael Shephard, Clark Woolley, Paul Robbins Jr., Samia Savell, Keith Perkins, and Ann Fischer
•    Safe Work Environment Award: Robert Lynn, Automotive Mechanic, Tongass National Forest
•    Safe Work Environment Group Award: Regional Safety, Wellness, and Casualty Assistance Program Team: Stephanie Latimer, Nicole McMurren, Graham Predeger, Rusty Reynolds, Penny Bullingham, and Doug Hoffmaster
•    Innovation Award: Jennifer Angelo, Regional Public Affairs Specialist
•    Innovation Group Award: Forest Health Web and Social Media Contributors: Robin Mulvey, Elizabeth Graham, and Sydney Brannoch
•    Customer Service Award: Alicia Stearns, Helicopter Manager/Safety Officer, Tongass National Forest
•    Customer Service Group Award: Alaska Region Human Resources Team: Julie Beall, Erin Hansen, Maxwell Martinez, Nathan Illidge, Sergio Abila, and Amanda Blankenship
•    Interdependence Award: Lydia Mills, Heritage Program Archaeological Technician, Tongass National Forest
•    Interdependence Group Award: Cordova Ranger District Heli-Ski Special Uses and Interdisciplinary Team: Jennifer MacDonald, Cary Case, Dave Zastrow, DeDe Srb, Erin Cooper, Brant Meixell, Nick Docken, Brandon Boxler, Robin Dale, and Jennifer Berger

“To embrace our values, codes and commitments throughout the year and then be able to see the outcomes of being the living embodiment of the agency and everything we stand for is truly remarkable,” said Regional Forester Dave Schmid. “Our employees’ adaptability, flexibility and passion for people, communities and public lands is what makes the Alaska Region so special.”

The agency’s values-based, purpose-driven, and relationship-focused program – This Is Who We Are – inspired the award category updates. 


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