Forest Resources Alumni Group names outstanding alumni for 2018

Kelly Jedrzejewski
May 10, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five alumni recently received 2018 Outstanding Alumni Awards from Penn State's Forest Resources Alumni Group.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding graduates of the former School of Forest Resources and the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. This year's Outstanding Alumni Award recipients are William M. Healy, of Smithville, West Virginia; John E. McDonald, of Westfield, Massachusetts; Steven A. Williams, of Gardners; and Howard G. Wurzbacher Jr., of Titusville.

The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award is designated for alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years. This year's recipient is Devin A. DeMario, of Manassas, Virginia.

William M. Healy earned his bachelor's degree in forestry in 1964 and his master's degree in wildlife management in 1967, both from Penn State. In 1978, he earned his doctorate in forest resource science at West Virginia University. Following graduate school, Healy began his research career with the USDA Forest Service in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he studied wild turkey brood and winter habitat use. During the 1990s, Healy served several terms as the Northeast Section Representative to The Wildlife Society Council and received the Henry Mosby Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation for his pioneering research on imprinted wild turkeys.

In 2015, Healy also received the NWTF's Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award as a tribute to his many contributions to wildlife conservation and his role in turkey restoration. Healy has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on wildlife, habitat management and ecology. In retirement, Healy remains active in conservation, and his hobbies include managing his 200-acre property in West Virginia for wildlife diversity, hunting, and bird and butterfly watching.

John E. McDonald earned his master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State in 1993 after completing his bachelor's degree in forest resource management at Virginia Tech. McDonald earned a doctorate in wildlife conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1998. He has conducted research on the management of black bears, white-tailed deer, moose, Canada lynx, ruffed grouse and beavers. He also has studied management of northeastern forests for wildlife and the effects of alternative energy development on wildlife habitat in his work for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

McDonald joined the faculty of Westfield State University in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science. In 2014, he was the recipient of the John Pearce Award, given by the Northeast Section of The Wildlife Society for outstanding professional accomplishments in wildlife conservation, and he served as the society's president in 2017-18. McDonald is active in his community, serving as chairman of the Worthington School Committee in Worthington, Massachusetts.

Steven A. Williams graduated from Penn State in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in environmental resource management. He received his master's degree in biology at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks in 1981 before completing a doctorate in forest resources at Penn State in 1986. Williams served as the secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, deputy executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and assistant director for wildlife and deer for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. He was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service between 2002 and 2005.

In 2004, Outdoor Life magazine awarded Williams the prestigious Conservation Award for Public Service for his leadership in the conservation partnership between sportsmen and women and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was named a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Alumnus in 2003. Williams was a speaker at the 2017 Northeast Student Conclave hosted by the Penn State student chapter of The Wildlife Society. He is currently president of the Wildlife Management Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership to conserve, restore and enhance North American wildlife and habitats.

Howard G. Wurzbacher Jr. earned his bachelor's degree in forest science at Penn State 1979. Following graduation, he worked as a seasonal technician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service in northwestern Montana before joining Fisher & Young and Endeavor Lumber companies as a log scaler and later as a procurement forester. In 1987, Wurzbacher began a long career as a forest technician with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He later was promoted to forester, assistant regional forester and regional forester.

Wurzbacher was instrumental in the development of the Game Commission's first comprehensive Forestry Manual in 2010 and has been a valuable mentor to many interns, including numerous Penn State students. He has been a member of the Society of American Foresters since 1993 and a certified forester since 2002. He was recognized by the society with the Robert W. Bauer Outstanding Service to Forestry Award in 2013. Wurzbacher currently serves on the Roach-Bauer Forestry Forum Committee and has served on the Forest Resources Alumni Group board of directors for six years, including two as president.

Devin A. DeMario graduated from Penn State in 2013 with a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science. She previously had completed a bachelor's degree in environmental science with a wildlife and fisheries concentration at California University of Pennsylvania in 2007. In 2012, before officially completing her master's degree, she was hired by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as the agency's legislative liaison. In 2016, DeMario joined the staff of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Washington, D.C., as a government affairs associate.

The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs presented DeMario with the 2008 John F. Laudadio Conservation Leadership Award. That same year, she received the Wildlife Conservation Award from the Pennsylvania Game Commission for her volunteer research, outreach and educational activities. Penn State's School of Forest Resources honored DeMario with the Roger M. Latham Memorial Graduate Award in 2011. She has been a member of the advisory committee of the Board of Environmental Education for the Western Pennsylvania Conservation District and an instructor and counselor for the Westmoreland County Junior Conservation School. She also is a past president and youth activities coordinator for the Westmoreland County Sportsmen's League.

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Last Updated May 16, 2018