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USU Forester Mike Kuhns Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017

UCFC awards ceremony

USU professor Mike Kuhns, right, is presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Community Forest Council and Utah Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture by Mike Lopez, chapter president-elect.

Mike Kuhns participates in public outreach

Mike Kuhns, left, head of USU's Department of Wildland Resources and Extension forester, talks with guests at Science Unwrapped. Kuhns was honored Jan. 24, for his contributions to urban forestry research, teaching, application and public outreach.

Lauded for his contributions to the field of urban forestry, Utah State University professor Mike Kuhns is the 2016 recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Community Forest Council and Utah Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. Kuhns, head of USU’s Department of Wildland Resources and director of USU Forestry Extension, was recognized in a Jan. 24, 2017, ceremony during the 2017 Green Industry Conference at the Southtowne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah.

“The breadth of Dr. Kuhns’ impact on the field of urban forestry is deep and has been continuous ever since he moved to Utah in 1992,” said Rachel Broadbent-Alder, UCFC/ISA-Utah Chapter president. “Anyone who has worked with Mike has become a better employee, scientist, communicator, colleague and educator because of their involvement with him.”

Kuhns was praised for his leadership and ingenuity in authoring a number of books, Web tools and programs to educate the public about trees and sustainable communities. His books, Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West and What Tree is That?, are sought-after guides throughout the West. More than 50,000 copies of Kuhn’s booklet, Firewise Landscaping for Utah, have been distributed and it continues to be a popular guide for homeowners and businesses. Kuhns also led creation of the website Tree Browser and the newly released app called MyArboretum. In addition, he’s authored numerous Extension factsheets and conducted presentations and workshops throughout the state.

“We’re thrilled Mike is receiving this well-deserved recognition for his efforts,” says Chris Luecke, dean of USU’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. “Mike is a consummate scientist and teacher, who is unwavering in his dedication to his field.”

Kuhns’ colleague Megan Dettenmaier, USU Forestry educator, says Kuhns carries out his professional endeavors with “scrupulous attention to detail.”

“Whether it be a survey of residents about a tree and sidewalk project or a Utah Forest Factsheet on climate change and urban trees, Mike is passionate about his work,” says colleague Megan Dettenmaier, USU Forestry Extension educator. “And I’ve never witnessed anyone with a greater appreciation for trees. Just try walking past the Turkish hazelnut outside the Biology-Natural Resources Building without him stopping to point out the unique seed pods. Come on, I dare you.”

Darren McAvoy, Extension assistant professor in forestry, says his writing, programs and projects are all at a higher caliber of quality because of Kuhns’ involvement and supervision.

“It’s rare for me to find people in my life that I can call a mentor, but Mike Kuhns is certainly my mentors,” McAvoy says.

Kuhns joined USU’s faculty as an assistant professor and Extension Forestry Specialist in 1992 and served as acting head of the then-Department of Forest Resources from Aug. 2000 until July 2001. He served as interim head of the Department of Wildland Resources from July 2012 until Jan. 2014, when he was named department head.

Kuhns was honored by the UCFC/ISA-Utah Chapter in 2010 with the group’s Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of 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.”

Established in 1991, the UCFC/ISA-Utah Chapter serves the needs of Utah’s professional tree care industry. The group hosts multiple public workshops each year focused on tree health and worker safety. In addition, the chapter’s volunteers conduct a two-year arborist apprenticeship program with classroom and hands-on field training.

Related Links
“USU Forestry Extension Uses New Sidewalk Technology to Save Trees,” Utah State Today 
“Mike Kuhns Named Head of USU’s Department of Wildland Resources,” Utah State Today
USU Department of Wildland Resources 
USU Extension Forestry 
USU Ecology Center 
USU Quinney College of Natural Resources 

Contact: Mike Kuhns, 435-797-4056,
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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