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LEAF 2023 School Forest Awards

Nominations are closed!

Nominations have closed for the 2023 School Forest Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations that have provided leadership for local school forests. LEAF (the Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program) will recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to school forest programs.

Awards will be presented in the spring at a time arranged within the honoree’s local school district or community.​

2022 School Forest Award Winners

Henry Schienebeck​​​​

Henry  Schienebeck (center) was presented with a school forest award at the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association spring meeting in Green Bay. Carol Pleudeman (left) nominated Henry for his work with the Northland Pines School Forest. Henry has supported school forests statewide by organizing LogALoad events which bring hundreds of students into the forest to  learn about sustainable forestry while the harvest is taking place. The proceeds for these events go to the MakeAWish Foundation and the school district.

Left to right – Carol Pleudeman, Henry Schienebeck, Steve Schmidt.

Adam Gould

Adam Gould (center) is the first full-time school forest coordinator of Severson Learning Center in the Cambridge School District. He was nominated by super-volunteer, retired educator Georgia Ibanez-Gomez (right) for his enormous work to start up the SEL programs, land restoration, curriculum work, and encouraging teachers to bring their students to the SEL. Much of the heavy lifting took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Left to right – Steve Schmidt, Adam Gould, Georgia Ibanez-Gomez.

Jeff Nyquist

Forester Jeff Nyquist, WDNR (center) has worked with the Tomorrow River Schools on their forests. He was nominated by fellow DNR forester, Lyle Eiden and Ag Science Educator, Rachel Ziegler (left) for his tireless work to salvage the timber after several wind events blew down trees. He also worked with students to teach about sustainable forestry throughout the process and plant trees over the years.

Left to right – Rachel Ziegler​, Student, Jeff Nyquist, Steve Schmidt, Student.

Jenna McCann

Jenna McCann was presented with a Wisconsin School Forest Award by Steve Schmidt (LEAF) at an award ceremony attended by all of the students at Merrimac Community School. Students in Jenna’s 2nd grade class enthusiastically led a tour of the school forest where they pointed out a few of their favorite placesSidnee Malek, school forest founder, had this to say about the awardee: 

Jenna has, over many years, intentionally prepared students, families, and the community to realize their responsibility to care for local resources. She is living her promise to care for the environment, doing so in both her professional and personal life. Jenna is an excellent candidate for this award.

Left to right – Steve Schmidt, Sidnee Malek, Jenna McCann, Jerry Exterovich.

Joe Kinscher

Joe Kinscher, educator at Valders High School (left), founded the Valders School Forest and mentors colleagues in their use of the forest. He and his students have planted hundreds of trees and are part of a partnership with UW – Green Bay (Manitowoc) to study water quality of the stream that runs through the forest. Joe was recognized by LEAF staff, Jonathan Ismail (right) at a district award banquet.

Left to right – Joe Kinscher, Jonathan Ismail.

Jerry Maney​

Jerry Maney was honored for his 30 plus years as the Wausau School Forest CoordinatorA theme in the nomination letters was his care for students, cheerful demeanor, and outstanding EE programming for the tens of thousands of students who have learned at the Wausau School ForestJerry was nominated by his successor, Chris Nelson.

Left to right – Mike Mroczenski, Wausau School Forest Educator; Keith Hilts, Wausau Superintendent; Jerry Maney, retired Wausau School Forest Coordinator, Steve Schmidt, ​LEAF program; Chris Nelson, Wausau School Forest Coordinator.

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Nomination categories:

Nominees in any category can be individuals or organizations:

Educator or group of educators (teacher/support staff, teacher aides)
Do you know an outstanding teacher or group of teachers in your district who have worked above and beyond to make the school forest an exceptional learning environment for the students?

School Administrator
(Superintendents, principals, curriculum directors, any school administration official, etc.) Is your school administrator incredibly supportive of the work being done at your school forest? Does your administrator encourage and champion the forest’s use for student learning?

Resource Professional
(Foresters, educational or environmental organizations, park or agency staff, natural resource managers, Extension agents, etc.) Are you fortunate to have a resource professional who is available to help answer questions, provide guidance, or help sustainably manage your school forest property?

Community Member
(Citizens, volunteers, community organizations, etc.) Would your school forest program be a wonderful resource for your school without the help of a local community member?

Student (any grade level)
Has a student or group of students done outstanding work at your school forest to further the environmental education programming or sustainable forest management within your district? If so, let’s honor them for their hard work, dedication, and passion at the school forest!

Nomination Requirements:

Provide the following:

Recognition of Awardees:

Nominees chosen to receive a 2023 School Forest Award will receive an engraved plaque, recognition on the LEAF School Forest website, and formal recognition within their own community.

Past Awardees: