UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Society of American Foresters recently named David Jackson, a forest resources educator with Penn State Extension, as a 2021 Presidential Field Forester Award recipient. He will be recognized at the virtual SAF National Convention, Nov. 3-6.
Jackson, who is based in Centre County, is one of 11 foresters in the nation honored with the award. The annual award, which recognizes one member from each society voting district, celebrates foresters who have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry on the ground using sound, scientific methods and adaptive management strategies. To earn the award, individuals must display uncommon talent, skill and innovative methods and have an excellent record in the application of forest management.
“I was shocked,” Jackson said of receiving the award. “It places me with some pretty distinct company, other field foresters that I respect and have tried to emulate. It makes all the hard work in the field worth it, knowing others recognize it.”
An extension educator since 2002, Jackson teaches programs on forest management to private forest landowners, industry foresters, youth and natural resource professionals. He was nominated for the award by Sanford Smith, a teaching professor of forest resources with the College of Agricultural Sciences and a natural resources and youth extension specialist.
“While much of Dave’s work involves teaching others the ‘what and why’ of management, he often does this by demonstrating ‘how-to,’ using classroom sessions, hands-on programs, webinars and short videos,” said Smith, who also serves as interim director of The Arboretum at Penn State.
Part of that “how-to” involves managing University forestland as a demonstration site, which Jackson has done for several years. According to Smith, this role keeps Jackson up to date on many field topics such as forest tending, wildlife best management practices, invasive plant control, forest regeneration, and insect and disease management.
Jackson earned his bachelor of science degree in forest resource management and forest biology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1988.
After college, Jackson worked various seasonal positions with the U.S. Forest Service in Montana, Vermont and Pennsylvania. He spent a year working for the University of Kentucky on its teaching and research forest before joining the Virginia Department of Forestry in 1992. There, he spent eight years as a service forester.
In 2000, Jackson took a position with Forecon Inc., a private consulting firm in New York. As a field forester, he managed lands in the eastern Catskill Mountains.
“The depth and diversity of his experience in field forestry have been a great asset to our organization,” said Smith. “His contributions are outstanding and ongoing.”
In 2007, while employed at Penn State, Jackson earned a master’s degree in forest resources from the University. His graduate work focused on creating educational materials about the use of herbicides in managing forest vegetation.
“Dave’s reputation as a field forester who practices what he teaches — and knows what he is talking about — is widespread in Pennsylvania and neighboring states among his program clients and forestry and extension peers,” said Smith. “I have been told by many how highly they respect him, and the clients always say they attend his programs because what they learn is immediately useful and valuable.”