Two West Virginia University alumni recently received a prestigious award for their contributions to the areas of conservation and forest stewardship.
West Virginia State Forester Randy Dye and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Forester Barbara McWhorter were presented the USDA Two Chiefs’ Partnership Award at the 2011 West Virginia Conservation Partnership Conference in Charleston.
Both are graduates of the forest resources management program in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. Dye received his bachelor’s degree in 1974; McWhorter received hers in 1983.
The Two Chiefs’ Partnership Award recognizes individuals and teams that work collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship. Award winners are selected by the Chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service and NRCS.
Dye and McWhorter worked with fellow honoree Glen Juergens, retired Monongahela National Forest silviculturist, as part of the West Virginia Forest Stewardship Partnership, a project dedicated to managing vegetation and soil on state and private lands as well as providing assistance to the Monongahela National Forest.
“I would like for others to see this as an award for the West Virginia Division of Forestry and our partners; not me the individual,” Dye said. “I set the course and the employees of the Division made it happen. I encounter forest landowners across the state on a regular basis that compliment our employees for the services they have provided. Nothing makes me prouder than to receive such a compliment about our organization.”
“Of course it is nice to be recognized for the work you do, but this partnership is just that – a partnership,” she said. “My accomplishments would not have been possible without the commitment and work of many employees at all levels.”
Dye has served as West Virginia’s State Forester for the past 12 years and is a native of Parkersburg, W.Va. He began his forestry career in Lumberton, N.C., with the Federal Paper Board. He then joined Georgia-Pacific Corp. in 1978 and worked in every state throughout the Southeast in a number of management positions before returning to West Virginia 1999.
Dye is a member and current vice president of the National Association of State Foresters. Extremely active in the organization, he has served as NASF’s liaison to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Plant Board, and the Association of Consulting Foresters of America. He has been vice-chair of NASF’s Forest Science and Health Committee, served as NASF treasurer, and is part of the group’s Executive Committee.
Dye is currently president of the West Virginia Agriculture and Forestry Hall of Fame and chair of the Southeastern Forest Fire Compact.
McWhorter, a native of Verona, Pa., has served as the state forester for the NRCS since 1996. After graduating from WVU, she worked for the University as a forest research technologist before accepting a position with the West Virginia Division of Forestry where she worked as a service forester and assistant district forester. In 1988, McWhorter began work with the NRCS as a soil conservationist in Georgia. She returned to West Virginia with the NRCS in 1993.
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