Maine Timber Research & Environmental Education Foundation (Maine TREE) has announced the winners of the 2023 Austin H. Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award and the newly established Sherry Huber Forest Champion Award.

These awards honor individuals, landowners and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the sustainable management of Maine’s forest resources. Maine TREE’s first Forest Awards Night, to recognize this year’s recipients, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, during Forest Products Week at the Morgan Hill Event Center, 82 Morgan Hill Lane in Hermon.

“Celebrating those who have dedicated their lives to advancing and promoting sustainable forest stewardship practices is essential in inspiring future generations to continue this important work. The contributions of this year’s award recipients to the health and sustainability of Maine’s forests will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our forest for generations to come,” shared Maine TREE Executive Director Logan Johnson, according to a news release from the Augusta-based foundation.

The Austin H. Wilkins Forest Stewardship Award, given in partnership with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is the primary recognition for those who have managed Maine’s working forest in an honorable and sustainable manner. This year’s recipient is the University of Maine School of Forest Resources, selected for its outstanding contribution to the forest products industry and the state of Maine.

The inaugural Sherry Huber Forest Champion Award is going to Sarah Medina. Her record as a champion of Maine’s Forests is evident through her past roles as a former Maine TREE Board member, Project Learning Tree Steering Committee member, and affiliation with many committees and organizations throughout her career. She has reached and engaged a varied audience, from children to professionals and policymakers, with her leadership over the years. Notably, as the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources’ first female graduate and Maine’s first female field forester, she has paved the way for others to follow. Medina was inducted into the Maine Forestry Museum Hall of Fame with three other women in 2021, the first to receive the honor.

Huber was a champion of forest-based education in the state, and her vision and leadership are the legacy Maine TREE Foundation strives to continue. In recognition of her contribution to Maine TREE and Maine’s Forest Community, the Board of Directors has created this award to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing forestry or forest products initiatives that educate students or the general public about Maine’s forests.

The event will also recognize the 2023 Outstanding Maine Tree Farmers of the Year, Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, and special presentations to others who have accomplished much for the forest in the past year.

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