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Nature’s keeper

ANF’s Hille awarded for excellence in management

USDA Forest Service photo Andrea Hille, Allegheny National Forest Ecosystem Management Staff Officer (center left) poses with Susan Stout, Research Forester Emerita (left), Richard “Fitz” Fitzgerald, Forester and Senior Program Analyst (center right), and John “Gary” Church, Assistant Director for Forest Products in the Washington Office (right), after being presented with the Richard Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in Forest Management, in a ceremony at the Supervisors Office, December 12, 2019.

It didn’t take long for the Allegheny National Forest to receive a top award for forest management.

Two years after the U.S. Forest Service awarded the first Richard Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in Forest Management to namesake Richard Fitzgerald, Andrea Hille of the ANF has received the recognition.

“The Fitzgerald Award annually recognizes one Forest Service employee who has demonstrated leadership, excellence in forest management, and outstanding commitment to working with partners in the field of forest management,” according to a release from ANF Public Affairs Officer Christopher Warner.

Hille, ecosystem management staff officer, can’t match Fitzgerald’s 66 years of service with the Forest Service, but, she is at 31 — 21 of those on the Allegheny.

“She has made significant contributions to and demonstrated an unmatched excellence in forest management, not only on National Forest System lands, but across the greater Allegheny Plateau and beyond,” Warner said. “Hille’s most long-lasting contribution to forest management is her commitment to and passion for mentoring. During her time as the Forest Silviculturist, she mentored a new era of silviculturists, who share her passion and dedication for forest management.”

USDA Forest Service photo Pictured is the Richard Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in Forest Management traveling award that will be located at the Allegheny National Forest until the next year’s winner is announced in December 2020.

“Over the past several years, much of Andrea’s time, effort, and accomplishments relate to the partnerships she has forged with private partners, other government agencies, and the Allegheny Forest Health Collaborative,” he said.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Andrea,” Allegheny National Forest Supervisor Jamie Davidson said. “She is passionate about taking care of the land and making a positive impact in the community and with our partners.”

“This award is well deserved and sums up what it means to be a Forest Service employee who is dedicated to Forest Management,” Davidson said.

“This was completely unexpected,” Hille said. “I am simply humbled and honored to have been nominated by my peers and recognized in this way.”

“For me, this is very truly humbling, as the projects and efforts I was recognized for are certainly not projects that I embarked on or envisioned alone,” she said.

USDA Forest Service photo Andrea Hille, Allegheny National Forest Ecosystem Management Staff Officer, poses with the Richard Fitzgerald Award for Excellence in Forest Management traveling award and plaque after being named the 2020 awardee in a ceremony at the Supervisors Office, December 12, 2019.

“This recognition belongs to many others on the teams I work with, the partners I work with on our Allegheny Forest Health Collaborative and Hemlock Conservation Strategy, agencies we cooperative with, and many others I have had the pleasure of working with,” she said.

After Fitzgerald himself, Hille is the second person to win the award agency-wide.

“When I consider his career tenure — in terms of environmental legislation enacted over that era, the evolution of science related to forest management, changes in society and what they want from their National Forests — I am struck by what a legacy he has created,” Hille said. “To receive an award named after Richard Fitzgerald is truly a career-capping honor.”

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