On January 13th, SAWS received the Chief's Award in the Apply Knowledge Globally category from the U.S Forest Service alongside five of our partners. The Chief's Award is the highest award in the U.S. Forest Service that celebrates excellence and achievement by employees and partners to accomplish the Forest Service's four goals: Sustain Our Nation's Forests and Grasslands, Deliver Benefits to the Public, Apply Knowledge Globally, and Excel as a High Performing Agency. SAWS is honored to accept this prestigious award from the U.S. Forest Service!
The Chief's Award was presented to the planning team of the National Wilderness Skills Institute. The National Wilderness Skills Institute brought together wilderness and river managers, field rangers, and partner organization from each region across the United States to learn new skills, share experiences, and connect with one another as they work to preserve wilderness character or the outstandingly remarkable values of wild and scenic rivers. Similar, smaller gatherings occur annually across the nation with various names (wilderness ranger academies, river ranger rendezvous, wilderness skills institute). However, with limitations on in-person gatherings in many areas due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many trainings events were cancelled in spring of 2020. Determined to continue on the annual training and networking gatherings in spring of 2021, agency personnel and partners came together to plan and organize the first-ever virtual National Wilderness Skills Institute hosted through various webinars, interactive sessions, and virtual social gatherings. The National Wilderness Skills Institute brought wilderness and wild and scenic river stewards together the week of May 24th, 2021. The event received over 900 attendees from the United States, the Kingdom of Jordan, Austria, Canada, and Ecuador.
The National Wilderness Skills Institute was coordinated, planned, and executed by a talented, enthusiastic, and dedicated team of wilderness and wild and scenic river stewards including our very own Eric Giebelstein with Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, Bill Hodge with Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, Angie Fuhrman and Risa Shimoda with River Management Society, Ian Davidson with Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, Jacob Wall with Society for Wilderness Stewardship, Dan Abbe with Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, and John Campbell, Jimmy Gaudry, Carol Hennessey, Nancy Taylor, and Dusty Vaughn with with the USDA Forest Service. Click here to watch the NWSI planning team's acceptance speech.
SAWS is incredibly grateful to all our partners, donors, staff, and volunteers for their continued generous support for the stewardship of wild public lands. And thank you Chief Moore for this marvelous opportunity!