On November 4, Deputy Forester J. Lopez of Forestry Division was honored by the Society of American Foresters (SAF) with a 2011 Presidential Field Forester Award at their annual national convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Lopez, along with eight other colleagues from across the country, was recognized by his peers for his innovative methods and record of excellence in forestry management. The purpose of this award is to distinguish foresters who have dedicated their professional careers to the application of forestry using sound, scientific methods and adaptive management strategies. "It's a great honor," said Lopez of his award. "I'm happy to bring recognition to our Forestry Division and the Department."
A 24-year member of our Department, Lopez holds a degree in forest management from the University of Chihuahua in his home country of Mexico. Originally drawn to agriculture and engineering, in which he also holds minors, he soon discovered the field of forestry and found his calling. After achieving accreditation in the United States through the University of California system, he was hired by the Los Angeles County's Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures in 1985. It was during this time while he was taking English classes at Pasadena Community College that he learned about our Department and its Forestry Division from his professor. "As soon as I found out I immediately went to the main office and started asking questions. That's when I met Forestry Chief Joe Ferrara." Ferrara was impressed with Lopez, and hired him in 1987 as a Forestry Technician, where he has since shown to be an integral member of Forestry Division. In his current position as a Deputy Forester in the Fire Plan and Forestry Technical Operations Units, Lopez conducts extensive outreach with residents and community groups who live in wildland areas, educating them on the importance of brush clearance and fireproofing their homes.
The SAF is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. Their Presidential Field Forester Awards are presented to individuals who have displayed uncommon talent, skill and innovative methods to achieve a record of excellence in the application of forest management. Congratulations to Lopez on his recognition!