Hank Stelzer is the 2023 recipient of the J.W. Burch State Specialist Agricultural Extension Award, presented at CAFNR’s Celebration of Excellence event April 11. Stelzer is an associate professor of forestry extension and education director of MU Extension’s natural resources program area. He is active in several professional associations including the International Society of Arboriculture and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals and has received the Karkhagne Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Missouri Society of American Foresters.
Stelzer has been instrumental in establishing numerous programs that improve the management of Missouri’s natural resources. He was a driving force in securing a foundational gift to the forestry program from Independent Stave Company, which brought multiple industry partners to the table to create new positions and impact for the forestry program. He also oversees a $1 million-plus grant to eliminate feral hogs in Missouri. One of the first programs he developed, Missouri Woodland Steward, brings management to the state’s 14 million acres of privately owned forests.
“Participants in the Woodland Steward program leave with knowledge of forest sustainability for Missouri forests,” said Sarah Havens, MU Extension’s southwest regional director and former natural resources field specialist. “This is critical to the health of the forest, the wildlife that depend on it and the success of the forest product industry.”