Conservation Outdoors

EcoForesters Announce Annual Awards

EcoForesters, an Asheville nonprofit forest management group, has announced the EcoForesters’ Annual Awards celebrating people and organizations who have made a difference in forestry this year. The three winners were recognized in a virtual event in December.

The 2020 Root Cause Award was presented to Lee Hensley of the Asheville Watershed Management Team, who stewards the forests surrounding the city’s watershed. Forest and waterway maintenance are deeply connected, and Hensley and his teams have worked tirelessly, controlling invasive plants and insects and maintaining roads, to keep our waterways clean.

Mark Megalos’ 34-year career as a forestry professional with the NC State Cooperative Extension was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. A professor with NC State College of Natural Resources, Megalos committed much of his career to landowner education, conservation planning and fostering the relationship between landowners and their forests.

Private landowners control nearly 70 percent of regional forests. Less than a quarter of forestland owners in the state of North Carolina have management plans for those areas, but such is not the case for Bruce and Teresa Pittillo. The couple were recognized with the 2020 EcoForester of the Year Award for the management of their privately owned forest land. Their entire family, young and old, contributes to the forest’s care.

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