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2021 Year in Review: The People

2021 Year in Review: The Research  2021 Year in Review: The Collaboration

In 2021, FNR faculty, staff, students and alumni represented our department well through awards, media attention and standout accomplishments. The People portion of our Year in Review highlights these outstanding individuals. Research accomplishments will be covered in The Research segment.


The Tipping Point Planner Core Team MembersThe Tipping Point Planner Project, a joint effort by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Purdue Extension, was selected as a 2020 recipient of the Purdue College of Agriculture's TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Award.

FNR Extension coordinator Brian MacGowan earned the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists Association (PUCESA) Leadership Award

Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty was named as an Excellence in Wildlife Education Award winner in July. In September, TWS highlighted what makes her teaching excellence in a feature story.

The Purdue Office of Engagement announced that Dr. Flaherty will serve as a mentor to Purdue's first class of Societal Impact fellows. 

Dr. Brady Hardiman was recognized for his selection as 2021 Richard L. Kohls Outstanding Early Career Teaching Award honoree at the annual College of Agriculture Spring Awards Banquet.

Dr. Jason Hoverman and Dr. Mo Zhou were promoted to full professor of vertebrate ecology and associate professor of forest economics and management with tenure respectively. 

Jarred Brooke looks at animal prints with youthPurdue Extension wildlife specialist Jarred Brooke was honored by the Purdue College of Agriculture PK-12 Council with the Staff Excellence Award for his work with PK-12 audiences to expand their interest in and preparation for careers in natural resource sciences. Brooke also was named as a recipient of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists' Association (PUCESA) Early Career Award, which recognizes an Extension specialist with less than 10 years of service.   

Carolyn Foley, research coordinator for the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program, was named as the recipient of the 2021 Purdue College of Agriculture Unsung Diversity Hero Award for her efforts in championing diversity within FNR and in the broader Purdue and Indiana communities. 

Dr. Mitch Zischke, clinical assistant professor in FNR, was selected to participate in the Purdue Office of Engagement's fall 2021 Service Learning Fellows Program.

Dr. Barny Dunning and Zischke were announced as the 2021-22 recipients of the College of Agriculture's Outstanding Undergraduate Counselor and Outstanding Clinical Faculty member respectively as part of the 2020-21 awards presentation ceremony. 

Dunning also received the Earl Brooks Award for advancing the conservation of natural resources in Indiana from the Indiana Audubon Society in September 2021. 

Dr. Rod Williams expanded his role beyond serving as a professor in FNR and director of the eastern hellbender program. He filled the newly created position of assistant provost for engagement in the Office of the Provost and will focus on developing programs that support the scholarship of engagement. 

Dr. Tomas Hook poses in a pondDr. Tomas Hook was named the 2021 recipient of the Purdue Agricultural Research Award. He is the third FNR honoree in the last four years, following Marisol Sepulveda and Songlin Fei. 

Drs. Bryan Pijanowski and John Couture were selected by the Purdue College of Agriculture as Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ambassadors. In this role, the pair will help guide and encourage members of the college who are interested in taking their research and innovations out of the laboratory and into the marketplace

The Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces: Creating Healthy Communities Team was honored for its efforts by the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists' Association (PUCESA). The collaborative effort of Purdue Extension professionals from Forestry and Natural ResourcesHealth and Human Sciences, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education Division (SNAP-Ed), and Community Development, as well as Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, earned recognition as a PUCESA Team Award honoree. Kara Salazar, assistant program leader and extension specialist for sustainable communities, and Daniel Walker, community planning extension specialist were among the EVPS campus leadership team.

The interdisciplinary team behind The Brood X Cicada Outreach in the spring and summer of 2021 was selected as the recipient of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists' Association (PUCESA) Team Award. The Cicada outreach team included four representatives from FNR: Purdue Extension wildlife specialist Jarred Brooke; Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee; communications coordinator Wendy Mayer; urban forester Lindsey Purcell. 

The transformation of the Columbian Park lagoon, which was a collaborative effort between Lafayette Parks and Recreation, Purdue FNR, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources received the Tree Lafayette Environmental Award.  

Departmental Awards

Four individuals were recognized for their service to FNR in 2021.

  • Dr. Reuben Goforth, postgraduate research assistant Bee Redfield, lead administrative assistant Telaina Minnicus and interim graduate coordinator Jackie Getson Dr. Reuben Goforth, associate professor of aquatic ecosystems, received the William L. Hoover Faculty Service Award.
  • Postgraduate research assistant  Bee Redfield was named as the Exemplary Graduate Student.
  • Telaina Minnicus, the lead administrative assistant to the department head, received the Outstanding Clerical/Service Staff Member Award. 
  • Jackie Getson, research associate and outreach coordinator/interim graduate program coordinator, was named as the Outstanding Administration/Professional Staff member. 

FNR honored its students and alumni with awards and scholarships at a virtual ceremony on April 20. From Student of the Year honors to the Stanley Coulter Leadership Award and those awarded with the forestry, wildlife and aquatic sciences disciplines. Awards were also presented for Outstanding Young Alumnus, Distinguished Alumnus and Lifetime Achievement. The Chase S. Osborn Wildlife Awards for Early Career and Lifetime Achievement also were named.

Student Awards

Bee Redfield, a PhD student working with the Tropical Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, expanded her impact into the engagement realm with a new service learning graduate assistantship.

PhD student Erangi Heenkenda in Dr. Andrew DeWoody's lab is working to use eDNA sequencing to study the diet of otters to see if allegations that otters prey heavily on sportfish can be substantiated. Heenkenda presented her findings at the spring 2021 meeting of the Indiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and won the Best Student Presentation Award.

Graduate students Madeline Montague and Lizz Allmon, who were named as recipients of the Graduate Student Pathmaker AwardMaster's degree student Madeline Montague and PhD student Lizz Allmon were announced as the 2021 recipients of the College of Agriculture Graduate Student Pathmaker Award, which recognizes students who have distinguished themselves as effective mentors and peer coaches. 

Senior Amanda Heltzel received the Outstanding Wildlife Undergraduate Student Award from the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society for her work in the classroom, in the field and in extra-curricular activities.

PhD student Taylor Stinchcomb received the Best Presentation Award at the Indiana Chapter of The Wildlife Society's annual meeting. Stinchcomb also garnered the Interdisciplinary Ecological Science and Engineering Outstanding Graduate Student in Research Award from Purdue. 

Alumni Honors
FNR alumna Janet Eger and former FNR faculty/staff members Bill Hoover and John “Jack” Seifert wereAlumna Janet Eger, former faculty/staff members Bill Hoover and John Seifert honored with the John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Service Award at the annual Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association (IFWOA) conference. 

Naturalist Mary Cutler, who has spent 40 years with the Tippecanoe County Park and Recreation Department, was named as the Lifetime Achievement recipient of the Chase S. Osborn Award for Wildlife Conservation.

Dr. Ken Kellner, whose published research has advanced the knowledge of 100 species of Indiana wildlife, including seven state endangered species and five species of special concern, was selected as the Early Career Award honoree for the Chase S. Osborn Award for Wildlife Conservation.

Dr. Obed Hernández-Gómez was named as FNR’s Outstanding Young Alumnus.  Dr. Robin Russell and Dr. Todd Atwood received FNR’s Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Award. Stephen Creech and Dr. Rolf Peterson were tabbed with FNR’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Amanda Wuestefeld, Director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife, was named as one of the College of Agriculture’s 2021 Distinguished Agriculture Alumni award winners. 

Dr. David Hyink was named as one of five Purdue College of Agriculture 2021 Certificate of Distinction award honorees. 

FNR sent 81 graduates out into the world in 2021, conferring 60 undergraduate degrees, 13 master's degrees and eight doctoral degrees.

  • May 2021: 40 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students received their degrees
  • August 2021: Five students, one undergraduate and four graduate students, became Purdue FNR alumni 
  • December 2021: Nineteen undergrads and seven graduate students earned their degrees 
In The Media

Dr. Mitch Zischke's Marine Biology class (FNR 201) offered students getaways to aquatic locales around the world from the comfort of their own computer screen, while also introducing them to many different aquatic species as well as ocean habitat threats in a fully virtual format.

Dr. Eva Haviarova demonstrates woodworking at Purposeful Designs, a company that trains men with a troubled past.Dr. Eva Haviarova's efforts in developing the skills of craftsmen at Purposeful Design, a custom furniture building business that trains and employs men who have a troubled past, were highlighted. 

Purdue Extension wildlife specialist Jarred Brooke's work with prescribed fire is now being used to educate a new audience about various techniques of the habitat management method, the Wounaan indigenous community of Panama among others, thanks to the United States Forest Service. 

Urban forester Lindsey Purcell shared about the importance of tree preservation and providing education that reflects the best management and planting practices in "Purdue Urban Arborist Discusses the Power and Beauty of Trees." 

Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty was featured in the Envision magazine story "A Good Teacher Can Change Everything." 

The Natural Resources Teacher Institute (NRTI), involving FNR Extension forester Lenny Farlee as well as members of the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment, hosted nine classroom teachers for a five-day program, which introduced educators to Indiana forests through the lenses of public and private forest management, a long-term forest research project, forest products and industry, and the diversity of plant and animal communities supported by forests. 

The Familiar Faces Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates (REEU) program, hosted by Dr. Liz Flaherty, associate FNR professor, and Megan Gunn, FNR recruitment and outreach specialist, was featured in the article "REEU program highlights "Familiar Faces" to increase diversity in FNR." 

Megan Gunn was quoted in a Purdue Exponent article on ways to enjoy nature around campus

Jarred Brooke's FNR 46500 History and Role of Hunting in North American Wildlife Conservation course was featured by Purdue Ag.

While Akane Abbasi is continuing her own studies, with at least another year left in working toward her Ph.D., she launched a project in January 2021 aimed at educating people in her home country on a variety of topics. With her YouTube channel, Abbasi shares what she has learned in research papers and through her own experiences with the Japanese audience. 

Students in the Arboricultural Practices course prune trees in downtown Lafayette, Indiana.Thirteen students in the Arboricultural Practices (FNR 44400) class taught by urban forester Lindsey Purcell participated in a service-learning project, pruning trees in the downtown Lafayette area, putting their classwork into practice, while also assisting the local community. 

Three FNR students – Megan Kiselica, Phoebe Soldi, and Ray Neff - who also are members of the Purdue All-American Marching Band, were featured for their involvement in Homecoming Week festivities

Students from the Purdue chapter of the American Fisheries Society were part of an effort to begin restocking the newly renovated lagoon at Columbian Park in Lafayette last week. Alongside professionals from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the City of Lafayette, the students helped stock and tag more than 900 largemouth bass. 

FNR remembered lead administrative assistant Marlene Mann, who passed away in June 2021 after a nearly 45-year career at Purdue. 

FNR forester Don Carlson and farm manager Brian Beheler were featured in the Purdue Alumni Magazine story. The story followed the pair into the woods at a variety of FNR's woodland properties throughout Indiana to discover the natural beauty of those areas, learn about some of the research that goes on there, and gain a deeper appreciation of forest management and its role in helping woods grow and thrive. 

Alumni In The Media

PhD alumnus Jim Beasley was featured in the University of Georgia alumni magazine (p20-25) for the practicum-like experience he puts on for his students at the Savannah River Ecology Lab

Tyler Hirschinger and Stacey Woessner of Bartlett Tree Experts met with Lindsey Purcell's arboriculture course. Eight Purdue alumni are members of the Bartlett staff, their FNR experiences and current jobs are featured in "Alumni Put FNR Experience to Work at Bartlett Tree Experts."   

Dante Francomano attaches an acoustic sensor to a polePhD alumnus Dante Francomano had his work on soundscapes featured in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The article "Beavers increase bird diversity in Tierra del Fuego" highlights his research in Argentina, which involved comparing recorded acoustic activity in intact forests, ponds created by beaver dams and meadows created after pond drainage that contain low vegetation and dead standing and felled trees. The article is based on the publication "Acoustic monitoring shows invasive beavers Castor canadensis increase patch-level avian diversity in Tierra de Fuego," which first appeared in the August 2021 Journal of Applied Ecology.

2008 wildlife alumnus Matthew Aghai and his company Droneseed were featured in a National Geographic article "To Regrow Forests, U.S. Needs Billions of Seeds, Many More Seed Hunters." The article details the company's use of swarms of drones to reforest burned sites. Aghai is the senior director of biological research and development at Droneseed.

Dr. Henry Quesada, then a professor and extension specialist at Virginia Tech University, was featured in "From green wood to a green world: How Extension agents are impacting America's hardwood industry." Quesada, who earned his master's from FNR in 2001 and his PhD in 2004, was named as Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader for Purdue Extension in February 2022. 

2019 alumna Katie D'Addato's journey to her dream job working as a sea turtle rehabilitation technician is featured in this story.

The U.S.S. Constitution at harbor in Charlestown, Mass.A handful of workers on the Naval Support Activity (NSA) – Crane base, many of them FNR alumni, are still working to fulfill the initial goal for the land, sustainable forests. In 1976, the base was named as the sole provider of hull planks and non-laminate material for the renovation and restoration of the U.S.S. Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides. The story of their participation in the 2017 restoration and past efforts is detailed in "FNR Alumni Keep History Afloat." 

1960 alumnus and longtime faculty member Walter Beineke, his friendship with astronaut Jerry Ross and their collaboration in cultivating and planting sycamore trees across the state that were grown from seed that was taken to outer space in 1988 is featured in "Space Sycamores: A Legacy of Hope, Friendship.

Dr. John Moser, who completed his Ph.D. in forestry in 1967, and his family were featured in "Moser Family Bleeds Black and Gold." The story details the family legacy of Purdue ties, ranging from John and his wife Joyce to their children and grandchildren. Moser also was honored by his former graduate students with a plaque honoring their mentor to ensure that his name and impact would be known to all generations to come. 

FNR remembered long-time professor and two-time FNR alumnus Walter Lain "W.L." Mills for his personality, positivity, and impact, following his passing in March 2021. 

2020 alumna Cassidy Robinson landed her dream job with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in March 2021. Her journey from a biology major to FNR, as well as many internships and experiences along the way, are detailed in this alumni update. 

Diversified: The Florida Panther Story, a short film produced by Olivia Andrus, which includes Dr. J. Andrew DeWoody among its cast, made the rounds at the 2020-21 film festivals. 

Alumna Novem Auyeung's holistic approach in New York City parks was featured in the Purdue Climate Change Research Center's Stories of Change series. 

Wildlife minor Lucas Foertsch detailed how his time and experiences in FNR, including the Career Fair, Alumna Sara High poses with the Woods on Wheels exhibit trailer impacted his career as an environmental biologist for Lochmueller Group.

Alumna Sara High was featured for her role as the Woods on Wheels operator. The Woods on Wheels project, a traveling exhibit that will be educating residents of all ages across the state, is a collaborative effort of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Association (IHLA), and Purdue FNR. 

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