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Mike Kuhns Named Head of USU's Department of Wildland Resources

Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

Mike Kuhns, department head, USU Department of Wildland Resources

Mike Kuhns, professor and Extension Forestry specialist, is the new head of USU's Department of Wildland Resources in the Quinney College of Natural Resources.

Mike Kuhns at Science Unwrapped activity

At a recent USU Science Unwrapped event, Kuhns, left, demonstrates the 'TreeBrowser' database and website. The new Wildland Resources department head has received multiple awards recognizing his dedication to public outreach.

Utah State University professor and Extension Forestry specialist Michael “Mike” Kuhns is the new department head of the university’s Department of Wildland Resources in the Quinney College of Natural Resources.

“In addition to his expertise in teaching, research, extension and administration, Mike brings 20 years of experience working with Utah forest lands to his new position,” says Chris Luecke, QCNR dean. “His broad perspective will bring vision and leadership to the department, as he and his colleagues continue their recent successes in hiring dynamic, young faculty into the teaching and research programs.”

Kuhns, who has served as interim head since July 2012, was appointed to the post effective Jan. 1, 2014. He succeeds Johan du Toit, who returned to full-time research and teaching in the department.

“I am very pleased to help lead the Department of Wildland Resources,” Kuhns says. “The department’s faculty, staff and students are some of the best in the university. We train wildlife managers, foresters, range managers, restoration ecologists and scientists, who go out and care for the natural resources of Utah, the country and the world. It is an exciting time to be a part of the department and I am honored to have been chosen to provide leadership to this great group.”

Kuhns, who joined USU as a faculty member and Extension specialist in 1992, previously served as acting head of the department, formerly known as the Department of Forest Resources, from Aug. 2000 until July 2001. He has received numerous awards and citations in recognition of his extensive research and extension efforts in wildland-urban interface issues, urban forestry, forest biology, women and minorities in forestry management and private forest land ownership.

With colleagues, Kuhns developed a number of award-winning educational tools and resources, including the TreeBrowser interactive database and website, the booklet Firewise Landscaping for Utah and many Utah Forest Facts factsheets. He is also the author of A Guide to the Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West, as well as a number of peer-reviewed journal articles.

In 2010, Kuhns received the Distinguished Service Award from the Utah Community Forest Council and the Utah Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. The award’s citation praised Kuhns for his efforts in developing “extraordinary methods and products to educate the citizens of Utah about the wonderful benefits of trees and his efforts in teaching the public in a wide variety of venues, with dedication and enthusiasm, for more than 20 years.”

USU’s Department of Wildland Resources offers undergraduate degree programs in conservation and restoration ecology, forestry, rangeland resources and wildlife sciences. Graduate programs are offered in ecology, forestry, range science and wildlife biology.

Related links:

Contact: Mike Kuhns, 435-797-4056,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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