News About Faculty And Staff

Dr. Wayne Myers Retires

Wayne Myers, professor of forest biometrics, retired on June 30, 2009, after nearly 31 years of service at Penn State and 40 years on university forestry faculties.

After earning M.F. and Ph.D. degrees in forest ecology (1965) and forest entomology (1967), respectively, at the University of Michigan, Myers began his professional career in Canada as a research forest entomologist and biometrician. He then joined the faculty of forestry at Michigan State University, where he remained for nine years, specializing in biometrics and remote sensing. His work at Michigan State included participation in the Forestry Faculty Program of the U.S. Forest Service in Portland, Oregon, and a biometrics capacity building consultancy assignment in Brazil.

In 1978, Myers joined the faculty in our School of Forest Resources. In 1979 he did an IPA (Interagency Personnel Agreement) with U.S. Forest Service State & Private Forestry. In 1984 he began a joint appointment as co-director of Penn State’s Office for Remote Sensing of Earth Resources (ORSER), one of the early centers for analysis of NASA satellite image data. Myers was influential in developing methods for remote sensing analysis, and a pioneer in geographic information systems (GIS). He developed two computer-based spatial data handling systems “from scratch,” using Penn State’s Stone Valley Experimental Forest and the Scotia Barrens (State Games Lands No. 176) as testing grounds for GIS in natural resources.

As co-director and then director of ORSER (later renamed ORSSIR, the Office for Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Resources), Myers developed pattern-based approaches to landscape-level ecological mapping. He was co-leader of a team that did a biodiversity analysis for vertebrates in Pennsylvania using GIS-based habitat models (GAP Analysis), developing a framework by which to evaluate land-use decisions and trends for biological diversity systematically and objectively. His later research focused on innovative approaches to detect and assess situations in which specific forest sites assume special significance by virtue of their placement in particular landscape patterns.
In addition to publishing numerous refereed articles, Myers has co-authored two books, with a third, Statistical Geoinformatics for Human-Environment Interface, in progress. In 2002, Myers received the Boggess Outstanding Paper award from the American Water Resources Association for a co-authored publication, “GIS and Remote Sensing in Landscape Level Analysis of Watersheds and Water Resources.”

In line with his interest in international work, Myers spent two years (1988 and 1989) in India as forestry advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. There he introduced GIS as a tool to help people cope with complex social/environmental issues. Since then he has worked extensively in cooperative watershed research in India. Myers has also had Research Fellowship assignments in Malaysia on three different occasions, including PSU liaison for a memorandum of agreement with the University of Malaysia Terengganu.

Myers has taught a number and variety of undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in the School of Forest Resources during the past three decades, including Forest Biometrics, Remote Sensing and Spatial Data Handling, Forest Fire Management, Natural Resources GIS, International Forestry, Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, Multispectral Remote Sensing, and Multivariate Analysis for Forest Resources. In 2001, Myers received the Edward D. Bellis Award in Ecology for “outstanding contribution and dedication to educating and training graduate students.” In 2004, Myers was named to the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Community of Teaching Excellence, which recognizes educators who significantly contribute to our college’s national reputation for excellence in teaching and learning.

SFR Faculty and Student Awards

The School of Forest Resources annual spring picnic has for many years been the venue at which the School’s Outstanding Faculty and Outstanding Senior awards have been presented. At this year’s picnic, held on the evening of April 16 at Tau Phi Delta Fraternity, two new awards were also presented: Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award and Outstanding Adviser Award.

The 2009 Outstanding SFR Faculty Award was presented to Paul Lupo, for his excellence in teaching and his keen interest in student participation and hands-on education. Lupo establishes a high standard for learning in the classroom and takes extra time to meet with students and help them study class material. He co-teaches FOR 203 (Dendrology), FOR 366 (Forest Measurements), and FOR 497 (an experimental GPS class). He is also involved with extracurricular student activities and guest lectures in other classes.

This annual award recognizes a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to the School of Forest Resources community through teaching, advising, and research. Students nominate faculty and a final selection is made by a panel of representatives from the School’s student organizations. Also nominated for the award this year were Dr. Walter Tzilkowski, associate professor of wildlife science, and Dr. Hunter Carrick, associate professor of aquatic ecology.

Wildlife and Fisheries Science student Rachel Cleaver was recognized as the SFR Outstanding Senior 2009. In her freshman year, Cleaver joined the Penn State Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and during her sophomore through senior years she has held the offices of secretary, treasurer, and vice president, respectively, in that organization. She worked as a volunteer with the Natural Resources Extension unit at the Pennsylvania 4-H Wildlife Field Day. She served as a tour guide during the School’s Centennial Celebration in 2007, and as a senior she mentored two incoming first-year students in the inaugural year of the School’s Peer Mentor Program.

Cleaver was employed as a fisheries research assistant in the School since her freshman year. She assisted teaching Field Ichthyology at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle, Pennsylvania. She served as a judge for the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, and as an assistant in the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow Program. Her academic achievements include an award for a poster presentation at the University’s Undergraduate Research Exhibition, an award in the College’s Guldin Speaking Contest, and induction into Xi Sigma Pi honor society.
Cleaver is an avid hunter and angler and she is staying with us to complete an M.S. in Fisheries under Dr. Jay Stauffer.

A committee of School of Forest Resources faculty and Xi Sigma Pi members selects the recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award each spring from nominations submitted by faculty, staff, and students. Nominees must be seniors expected to graduate in May, August, or December. Also nominated this year was Forest Science senior Erin Stewart.

The SFR Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award, presented for the first time this year, went to Phillip Manning for his dedication to students in FOR 466W (Forest Management). Manning established a high standard for learning and always made extra time for his students.

Manning is completing an M.S. degree in Forest Resources and is advised by Dr. Marc McDill. He earned a B.S. degree here in 2007 in Wildlife and Fisheries Science with a minor in Forest Science. His current research involves updating and developing growth and yield models for Pennsylvania forests to aid in the development of forest planning models. His personal interests are hunting, fishing and hiking,

Undergraduate students nominate candidates for the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant Award, and the recipient is selected by leaders of SFR student organizations. Also nominated this year were Mary Lundeba, who just completed a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science this summer; Yvette Dickinson, Ph.D. candidate in Forest Resources; and Sarah Johnson, Ph.D. candidate in Ecology.

Dr. Nicole Brown, who was promoted to associate professor of wood chemistry this summer, was honored with the Outstanding SFR Adviser Award, a new award presented for the first time this year.

Brown teaches W P 400 (Properties of Wood), W P 413 (The Chemistry of Wood) and W P 418 (Chemical Processing of Wood). She exhibits excellence in advising, career planning, and counseling students. She invites undergraduates to work in her research lab, serves as faculty adviser to the Forest Products Society student chapter, and initiated the annual SFR Cardboard Canoe Race.

The Outstanding Adviser Award is based on the overall effectiveness of the student adviser as reflected by the nominators and the undergraduate student body. Excellence in three areas are emphasized: academic advising, individual student goal-setting and career planning, and personal counseling. Also nominated this year were Dr. Paola Ferreri, associate professor of fisheries management; Dr. Gary San Julian, professor of wildlife ecology; and Dr. Eric Zenner, associate professor of silviculture.