Craig Highfield, left, of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay presents Christine and Fred Andreae with the 2015 Forest Champion Exemplary Forest Steward Award.(September 26, 2015 – Shepherdstown, West Virginia)  The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the US Forest Service presented the 2015 Chesapeake Forest Champions awards at the 10th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum attended by over 400 regional scientists and environmentalists in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. This year’s honorees included Don Outen of Baltimore County Environmental Protection and Sustainability who received the Forest Champion Lifetime Achievement Award; Anne and Carl Little of Tree Fredericksburg for “Most Effective Public Engagement”; Cathy Yeakel, Jen Johns and Mike Hanawalt of the Bradford County, PA CREP Partnership for “Greatest On-the-Ground Impact”; and Christine and Fred Andreae as “Exemplary Forest Stewards.”

The commitments of these award winners to the critical forest habitats of the Chesapeake region serve as inspirational examples of the local action, whether through individual stewardship or collaborative efforts, that is needed to ensure the restoration of the watershed’s vital resources. “Forests remain the most beneficial land use for improving and maintaining the quality of our streams river and Chesapeake Bay while also providing a host of essential public services we rely on everyday”, stated Craig Highfield, program manager of the Alliance’s Forests for the Bay Program.

Don Outen received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long career in land use planning and forest management and preservation at the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, where he was a key developer of the County’s renowned Forest Sustainability Program that works to revitalize and restore forests on both public and private lands.

Anne and Carl Little, through their non-profit Tree Fredericksburg, have led volunteers in the planting and maintenance of 4,000 urban trees since 2007 while also educating the residents of Fredericksburg about the essential benefits tree provide in their community.

Cathy Yeakel of Bradford County Conservation District, Jen Johns of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Mike Hanawalt of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service represented a Bradford County, Pennsylvania partnership that was presented the award for Greatest On-the-Ground Impact. The partnership has implemented more than 3,000 acres of streamside forest buffers since the beginning of Pennsylvania’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

Virginia forest landowners Christine and Fred Andreae were recognized as Exemplary Forest Stewards. The couple passionately manages close to 800 acres including a wildlife corridor connecting George Washington National Forest to Shenandoah National Park.