Children’s Forest Receives Forest Service’s Highest Award

The prestigious “Chief’s Honor Award” to be given at a ceremony in December

 The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon has received the 2014 Forest Service’s Chief’s Honor Award, the highest award given by the Forest Service.

The Chief’s Honor Award publicly recognizes outstanding accomplishments that contribute to the Forest Service’s strategic goals. The prestigious honor was given to the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon, formerly the Deschutes Children’s Forest, for “Engaging Urban America,” through exemplary accomplishments in creating a Children’s Forest that inspires youth to be stewards of public lands through connections with nature.

In giving the award, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said, “I appreciate your work to double participation in environmental education programs, develop resources for teachers, parents and children, and raise overall community awareness of the critical link between time spent in nature and better health.”

Sean Ferrell, Volunteer and Partnerships Program Manager for the Deschutes National Forest, will accept the award at a ceremony on December 5, 2014 in Washington D.C. on behalf of the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon (CFCO).  He will be accompanied by Paul Andrews (High Desert Education Service District), Bruce Abernethy (Bend La Pine School District), and Sue Jorgenson (Bend Park & Recreation District), who are all founding partners of the Children’s Forest of Central Oregon.

Other team members honored in the award include:

  • John Allen, Forest Supervisor, Deschutes National Forest
  • Katie Chipko, Children’s Forest of Central Oregon Staff
  • Dr. Dana Whitelaw, Advisory Board Member, President, High Desert Museum
  • Dr. Mary Brown, Advisory Board Member, Physician, Central Oregon Pediatric Associates
  • Dr. Kristi Nix, Advisory Board Member, Physician/Pediatrician, Mosaic Medical
  • Mike Elam, Advisory Board Member, Redmond Area Park and Recreation District
  • Rebecca Barrett, Advisory Board Member, Science Teacher, Redmond SD
  • Carol Packard, Advisory Board Member, Science Teacher, Sisters SD
  • Jackie Wilson, Advisory Board Member, Youth Education Director, The Environmental Center
  • Kolleen Yake, Advisory Board Member, Education Director, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
  • Laura Furgurson, former Advisory Board Member and Executive Director, Discover Your Forest
  • Laura Handy, CFCO Partner, Executive Director, Heart of Oregon Corps
  • Charlie Anderson, CFCO Partner, Executive Director, Camp Tamarack
  • Angela Morrill, Committee Member, Camp Fire Central Oregon
  • Kate Wells, Committee Member, PacificSource
  • Eric Haynie, Committee Member, KIDS in the GAME


“From the beginning it has been the community partners who believed in the greatest possibility of the Children’s Forest, which to date has reached over 40% of our student population and offered programs in every school in Central Oregon,” Ferrell stated when learning of the award.

“We see hundreds of Central Oregon students flourishing from the Children’s Forest programs,” said Paul Andrews, Deputy Superintendent for the High Desert Education Service District which serves as the fiscal agent and employer for The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon. “These programs help our teachers take learning outside of the four classroom walls and into nature.”

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