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WISCONSIN DNR FORESTRY LEADERS GAIN NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Contact(s): Paul DeLong, DNR chief state forester, 608-264-9224, Paul.Delong@wisconsin.gov; Dick Rideout, DNR urban forestry partnership specialist, 608-267-0843, Richard.Rideout@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov
October 20, 2015

MADISON - Two forestry leaders from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have earned national recognition from the National Association of State Foresters.

At the recent annual meeting, the nonprofit group elected Wisconsin chief state forester Paul DeLong as president and honored longtime DNR urban forestry specialist Dick Rideout for achievements in urban forestry. Established in 1920, the National Association of State Foresters comprises state forestry agencies throughout the U.S. and its territories and works to influence forest policy and implementation to optimize social, economic and environmental benefits of trees and forests.

"Wisconsin's proud tradition of leadership in forestry creates numerous economic benefits in our state while supporting recreation opportunities and diverse wildlife," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Paul DeLong and Dick Rideout understand the historic role and future importance of forests -- both rural and urban -- in preserving our quality of life throughout Wisconsin. We are grateful for their talent and vision."

Paul Delong
Paul Delong
Photo Credit: WDNR

DeLong, a 23 year DNR veteran, was reappointed by Stepp as Wisconsin's chief state forester in 2011, a role in which he leads programs to protect and sustainably manage Wisconsin's 17 million acres of forest land.

"It's a privilege to work with Wisconsin's forest owners and managers, the myriad companies involved in forestry and the many other stakeholders involved in protecting and managing this outstanding resource," DeLong said. "Serving as president of the National Association of State Foresters enables me to champion our successes, highlight our challenges and share the importance of sustainable forest management nationally. Federal policy affects Wisconsin's forests and all those who live, work and recreate in the forest so it is important to influence that policy at the national level. I also look forward to bringing innovations from other states back home."

Each year, Wisconsin's public and private forested lands supply enough timber to power a wood products industry that generates nearly $22.9 billion worth of products and employs more than 59,000 people. While the state's urban forests are not about producing volume, they too contribute strongly to the economy - enhancing property values, reducing energy consumption, producing high-value specialty wood and creating green industry jobs.

Dick Rideout
Dick Rideout
Photo Credit: WDNR

Dick Rideout, DNR's urban forestry partnership specialist and past state coordinator, was honored by the National Association of State Foresters for his work at the state, regional and national level to encourage active, science-based management of urban forests. Jay Farrell, executive director of the association, said Rideout's contributions include developing a database to catalog the state's urban tree canopy and raise funds for urban forest research and college scholarships through the Stihl Tour des Trees cycling benefit. In one recent year, Rideout raised more than $17,000 for the fund.

"Thanks to his ongoing contributions, we're pleased to honor Dick with the 2015 Stewart Pequignot Current Achievement Award for Urban Forestry," Farrell said. "Dick's willingness to share his knowledge and mentor others has elevated the urban and community forestry community nationally. He is motivated by a vision of what urban forestry can be and understands the steps needed to achieve that vision."

Rideout, who has also coordinated cooperative research efforts to increase the number of tree varieties available to urban forestry professionals, is a 25 year veteran of DNR.

"Well-managed urban forests return to communities nearly three times the cost of planting and maintaining them," Rideout said. "I'm grateful to the national association for this recognition and also to our staff and our many local partners who help make Wisconsin's urban forests a vital part of the landscape."

To learn more about Wisconsin's leadership in forest management, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov and search "forestry"; to learn more about the importance of trees in communities, search "urban forests."

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 20, 2015




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