Campus News

UGA professors recognized by Society of American Foresters for outreach, research work

David Dickens

Athens, Ga. – Two University of Georgia professors recently received awards from the Southeastern Society of American Foresters, which recognized them for their service to forestry education and research.

Awards committee chairman Mathew Smidt recognized David Dickens and Michael Kane at the organization’s annual meeting on St. Simons Island. Dickens was awarded the public education/technology transfer award, and Kane received the research and development award.

Both Dickens and Kane are professors in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

The Southeastern Society of American Foresters is one of 33 state and multi-state societies that make up the national body known as the Society of American Foresters. SESAF is composed of professional foresters and forest technicians from the three-state region of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Since 1900, the Society of American Foresters has been dedicated to improving the health and productivity of America’s forests by offering information and networking opportunities its nearly 18,000 members.

Dickens, a professor of forest productivity, focuses on outreach services by educating forest landowners, practicing foresters, land managers and state and federal land management employees about forest management decisions. An author of publications designed to help those audiences, Dickens also frequently hosts meetings, workshops, seminars and conferences to instruct participants about forestry-related issues. Last year he was instrumental in helping landowners and foresters assess the damage caused by ice storms and determine casualty losses in the state.

“It means a lot to be recognized for my work in these areas by my peers,” Dickens said. “Education—whether it be on a college campus to students in classes or to forest landowners and practicing foresters in workshops or field days—is a collective effort of faculty and staff. I enjoy educating and helping forest landowners and practicing foresters of the southeastern U.S. make sound forest management decisions that are unbiased, scientifically sound and current. Education of our students, forest landowners and practicing foresters is based on our collective faculty and staff efforts to effectively share new information and knowledge.”

Mike Mengak, associate dean of outreach at the Warnell School, said he has witnessed Dickens’ enthusiasm for educating the public about forestry for more than a decade and has seen firsthand how engaged he is at workshops and conferences.

“I am frequently reminded of the high quality of David’s work, his passion for his work and his commitment to UGA, public education and outreach and to the forestry profession,” Mengak said.

Kane is a professor of quantitative silviculture and the director of the Plantation Management Research Cooperative, which is a university-private sector research cooperative dedicated to researching pine plantations in the southern U.S. He focuses on southern pine plantations to design methods for the wise use and management of forests through proper silviculture practices, productivity and sustainability. As director of the cooperative, he works with researchers at UGA and other institutions on issues such as climate change, biomass production and sustainable forest management. In the last eight years, he has led research projects with grants totaling $4.2 million.

“Being recognized by SESAF for excellence in research is a great honor,” he said. “This award reflects a sustained, strong team effort by participants in the Plantation Management Research Cooperative to improve southern pine plantation silviculture and biometrics technology. I am very appreciative of the support and efforts of the Warnell School and the PMRC’s private sector cooperators.”

Dale Greene, interim dean of the Warnell School, called Kane a “rare individual. He is not only an outstanding scientist, but a gifted teacher and a highly effective research program leader.”

UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA is the oldest existing forestry school in the South. The Warnell School’s educational and outreach programs focus on the conservation and management of Earth’s natural resources, including forests, fisheries, wildlife and water sources. The school emphasizes the importance of balanced management of ecosystems throughout Georgia and the world. For more information, see