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Alumni Fischer, Schuerman Honored with Datena Distinguished Forester Award

Three foresters with exemplary careers, including two Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources alumni, were recognized with the John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Award at the recent Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association annual conference.

Ken Day and Burney Fischer of Bloomington and Joe Schuerman Jr. of Versailles were recognized for their leadership in forestry and support for Indiana woodland owners. The award was named after former state forester John F. Datena to honor his commitment to Indiana forestry.Ken Day with his John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Award

Ken Day retired after nearly 40 years working with the USDA Forest Service, with 17 years as the Hoosier National Forest supervisor. He served in various national, regional and state leadership positions, with a focus on using science to improve our forests. Day has won many awards for his efforts, including a Distinguished Hoosier Award by former governor Mitch Daniels.

Fischer, who earned his bachelor’s in forestry (1969), master’s (1971) and PhD (1974) at Purdue, spent 15 years as a forestry professor and extension forester at his alma mater before being called to serve as the state forester in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. He finished his career as the first forester atBurney Fischer with his John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Award Indiana University’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Fischer’s passion is urban forestry, where helped create and lead the Indiana Urban Forest Council and established urban forestry classes at IU. Fischer has earned national awards for his forest policy and urban efforts.

After a 17-year career with the Indiana DNR Division of Forestry, 1970 forestry alum Joe Schuerman Jr. pivoted to a private consulting forestry business, providing assistance to private woodland owners in 20 counties. In his career, Schuerman has planted over 1 million tree seedlings. He hosts an annual regional Timber Industry Appreciation dinner and was instrumental in republishing Charles Deam’s “Trees of Indiana and “Shrubs of Indiana.”Joe Schuerman Jr. with his John F. Datena Distinguished Forester Award

“These three honorees have devoted decades of work to the betterment of Indiana forestry, and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment,” IFWOA executive director Liz Jackson said summing up the conservation ethic of the awardees. “Our woodlands are better off due to their efforts.”

The awardees were selected by the Indiana Hardwoods Lumbermen’s Association, Indiana Association of Consulting Foresters, Indiana Society of American Foresters, and Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association.

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