By Meg Upton
Steve Buckley, ecologist for the Lassen Volcanic National Park, is Sierra Institute’s 2020 Partner of the Year.
Every year, Sierra Institute recognizes a partner who exemplifies the best of the best, going above and beyond to advance our collective work.
“Sierra Institute for Community and Environment (Sierra Institute) is privileged to collaborate with exceptional individuals from various agencies and organizations to foster healthy forests and watersheds, build vibrant communities, and develop the next generation of stewards,” said Nina Martynn, Sierra Institutes Communications Coordinator.
In addition to his many park responsibilities, Buckley is a highly valued and active member of the South Lassen Watersheds Group, and Burney Hat Creek Community Forest and Watershed Group. The two collaborative groups include a powerfully diverse mix of local partners who support local contractors and industry while pursuing high priority, large-scale, multi-jurisdictional projects to improve forest and watershed health, reduce wildfire risk, protect critical habitat on over 1.2-million acres.
Buckley provides critical ecological knowledge and thinking that helps guide the work of both groups. Buckley’s efforts to develop innovative solutions that address stressors impacting forests and watersheds were recently recognized by two Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards focused on completing critical wildfire fuels management work in wilderness areas of Upper Feather River Watershed.
These projects employ a Wilderness Fuels Module Crew which uses only non-mechanized equipment. The crew is preparing 4,000-acres for prescribed burning to restore historic forest conditions and fire patterns.
Testimony to the importance of the work and Buckley’s leadership, the Wilderness Fuels Module Crew was the recipient of the prestigious National Park Service Director’s 2019 Wes Henry Excellence in Wilderness Stewardship Award.
As an advocate of novel stewardship work and to ensure the health and well-being of our forests, watersheds, and communities for future generations, Buckley is leading an effort to grow native restoration plant materials. This project involves local Mountain Maidu and youth in stewardship work.
Buckley exemplifies what it means to be a committed and steadfast Sierra Nevada Steward, said Martynn.
“This award is but a small recognition of Steve’s deep appreciation for the land, work, and devotion to mentoring the next generation of stewards. Congratulations and thank you, Steve!” said Martynn.