Foresters honor Stelzer with monstrous award

  • Published: Thursday, March 26, 2020

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Hank Stelzer, MU Extension state forestry specialist, received the 2020 Karkhagne Award from the Missouri Society of American Foresters.

Named after a mythical beast said to roam the forests of Missouri, the Karkhagne is the society’s highest honor, presented to a forester for outstanding service and professional achievement.

“The Karkhagne not only symbolizes the importance of Missouri’s forests to all creatures, it also represents the unique and sometimes harsh nature of forestry during the early days,” says John Kabrick, a researcher for the U.S. Forest Service and MU assistant professor of forestry.

When presenting the award, Kabrick praised Stelzer as a “tireless promoter of the value of forestry and natural resource education.” When Stelzer served as chair of the MU Department of Forestry during a period of reorganization, Kabrick noted, he “voluntarily stepped beyond his broad outreach and extension duties to enthusiastically teach essential undergraduate classes.”

Stelzer is a leader in the FFA forestry program; developer of landowner training for the Missouri Woodland Steward program; adviser for sustainable wood biomass procurement to supply MU’s state-of-the-art wood energy power plant; and a 44-year member of the Society of American Foresters with leadership and service in four local chapters.

Stelzer has been a natural resource educator for Scouting programs at local and national venues, serving as a merit badge counselor for forestry, environmental science, fish and wildlife science, soil science, and sustainability; coaching 22 Eagle Scout service projects for Troop 706; and serving as visiting forester for the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico.

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