Kilpatrick is national 'Forester of Year'

• Shreveport

Ricky Kilpatrick, LSU AgCenter northwest area forestry agent, has been named the Extension Forester of the Year by the Forest Landowners Association, a national advocacy group.

According to the association, the award recognizes an extension forester who has been in practice at least five years and is dedicated to the advancement of forest landowner education and outreach, focusing on private landowners.

"It has been a dream job. I get to educate landowners, loggers and others about forestry, which is our No. 1 agricultural commodity, as far as land use and economic value," Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick began working for the LSU AgCenter in 1985. His work has been dedicated to forestry education and outreach. He has taken a strong leadership role in the Louisiana branch of Project Learning Tree as the coordinator and steering committee chairman.

Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program for teachers and other educators, parents and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. During the past three years, more than 1,000 educators have been trained across the state.

"Project Learning Tree opened the door for a new audience," Kilpatrick said. "It's really rewarding to see the educators' energy and enthusiasm about the program and materials."

"Ricky has been the recipient of over a half dozen awards and nationally recognized in forestry publications and Newsweek magazine for his work with Project Learning Tree" said LSU AgCenter extension forestry program coordinator Shaun Tanger.

"His selfless commitment and knowledge have played a vital role in Project Learning Tree. He is exposing kids and teachers to an appreciation for forestry," Tanger said. "Ricky has a great reputation among landowners. He is always looking for ways to better serve them and the community and improve forestry in the state."

Kilpatrick is also actively involved in the Louisiana Forestry Teachers Tour, which trains teachers who in turn pass on sound forest management principles to their students.

He was presented with his award on June 4 as part of the 2015 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners in Virginia Beach, Virginia.