COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M AgriLife has awarded Andrew Crocker, Staff Forester for Texas A&M Forest Service, the 2017 Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Pubic Service in Forestry.
The award was presented Jan. 9 at the AgriLife Conference on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.
Crocker is one of 15 foresters in Texas responsible for conducting data collection for the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, a census for trees, upon which many forest management programs and decisions are made across the nation.
FIA relies on technical precision and verifiable accountability. Both are strong traits that Crocker demonstrates on a daily basis and has done so for Texas A&M Forest Service for the past eight years, holding the highest accuracy rate in the state at 99 percent.
“Throughout Drew’s tenure with the agency, he has consistently delivered FIA and other agency programs with the highest degree of professionalism and service oriented work ethic expected of a TFS forester,” said Texas A&M Forest Service FIA Program Leader Chris Brown.
The work of FIA is almost as much about people as it is about science. Stationed at the state agency’s office in Kerrville, Texas, Crocker has used both his technical and people skills as he traversed Central and West Texas establishing and measuring FIA plots. With approximately 94 percent of the state being owned by private landowners, accessing plots is a task that takes the ability to communicate and relate to others, gaining their trust and giving respect.
“I would send Drew out to represent TFS to any audience. His demeanor, competence and pleasant personality does the agency’s positive image well,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Department Head for Sustainable Forestry and Economic Development Burl Carraway.
Being experienced in rural FIA work, Crocker was assigned to the team that pioneered FIA in urban areas in 2014. Crocker helped install plots in the Austin, Texas, the first city in the nation to complete an Urban FIA survey. Information gathered through this program helps provide a depiction of forests spanning from a community’s urban core to far rural areas, vital to urban planning and forest management.
With 29,000 FIA plots spanning the Lone Star State, there is no shortage of work to constantly re-measure plots showing change in both our rural and urban forests over time. According to his Texas A&M Forest Service colleague David Shannon, Crocker is up for the task, “he loves his job and is very respectful of what it represents as stewards of this great state’s natural resources.”
Carraway agrees, “Drew is very deserving of this award.”
The Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence were established in 1980 to recognize the commitment and outstanding contributions of faculty and staff across Texas A&M AgriLife and provide opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those honored. Learn more athttps://agrilifeawards.tamu.edu.