Francis H. Raymond Award

On August 24, 2016, in Sacramento at the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection Douglas D. Piirto, Ph.D., was awarded the Francis H. Raymond award for career excellence in forestry.

  Aug 24, 2016   Douglas_Piirto


California Society of American Foresters and Leader in Forestry Research and Management Receive Award for Outstanding Contributions to California Forestry

SACRAMENTO— The California Society of American Foresters (CaSAF) and Dr. Douglas Piirto are the recipients of this year’s prestigious “Francis H. Raymond Award for Outstanding Contributions to California Forestry.”The California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) is acknowledging CaSAF for their 100 years of membership and their longstanding commitment to excellence in the field of forestry. Dr. Piirto will also be recognized by the BOF for 40 years of leadership in the field of forestry as a professor, scientist, and forester.

What: Presentation of the Francis H. Raymond Awards for Outstanding Contributions to California Forestry

When: August 24, 2016 Approximately 10:00 a.m.

Where: First Floor Auditorium, Resources Building
1416 9th Street, Sacramento

Established in 1916, CaSAF currently has 600 members.Committed to the highest standards in forestry, members work to balance diverse demands on natural resources while setting the highest standards in forest management, bringing science, best practices, and quality foresters together to advance the field of forestry through professional and public education. These efforts include sponsorship of the Forestry Institute for Teachers and Forest Conservation Days - a weeklong event for 5th graders that has reached over 60,000 students.CaSAF also participates in national accreditation of California universities and state college forestry curriculums and provides continuing education certification for forestry-related educational programs.

Dr. Douglas D. Piirto has 30 years of experience as a professor, department head, scientist, and forester at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo as well as 10 years of experience as a professional forester with the US Forest Service. Dr. Piirto has done much to further the field of forestry, including serving on the California Pitch Canker Task Force; the California BOF; the Resource Conservation District for the Las Tablas Upper Salinas River; and the Giant Sequoia National Monument Science Board as a presidential appointee. He previously received the Society of American Foresters Fellow Award in 2010 for outstanding lifetime achievement and service.Dr. Piirto currently owns and operates a small forestry consulting business.

The “Francis H. Raymond Award for Outstanding Contributions to California Forestry” is named for Francis H. Raymond, the Director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection from 1953 to 1970. Mr. Raymond was one of the primary advocates for the passage of the Professional Foresters Law in 1973. Since 1987 the award has been given to a group or individual who has achieved excellence in forestry in California.

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Acceptance Speech

I am honored, humbled, and thankful to be receiving today, August 24, 2016, the Francis H. Raymond award from the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection and Cal Fire. There is no way that I can overstate the enormity of this career achievement. I graciously accept the award. I thank all who helped make this possible for me today.

There have been literally thousands of people and dozens of organizations that have supported me in various positive ways throughout my life. People face major challenges that make the pursuit of excellence, family happiness, and career success exceedingly difficult. So to say that this award was easy for me to achieve would not be true. I had major health challenges up to and past the age of 18 that did affect my confidence. My parents (Martha and Rueben Piirto), my sister (Doris Donchak), my grandparents, various family members, and especially my wife (Mary Piirto) supported me every step of the way. So I say thank you to Mary, my family, and all my friends for their support making our lives interesting, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

My father, Rueben Piirto, was a Navy Veteran of WW II assigned to the Bunker Hill, the aircraft carrier that fought many sea battles. He was our family leader as I was growing up. I speak about family leadership and management that we all must do as we seek success in life in a paper I wrote while on sabbatical leave at Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences in Finland. In that paper titled Leadership, A Lifetime Quest for Excellence, I state “…we [i.e., all of us] make very important life affecting decisions each and every day. Those personal, family, community, and job related decisions and the associated work related to them require leadership and management from each and every one of us as we journey through life.” There are many leadership and management guiding principles. One guiding principle, in particular, that my Grandmother, Martha Kramer, shared with me was best stated by Stephen Greliet: “I shall not pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Those words of advice helped me to better understand what it truly means to lead and most importantly to serve others.

My life has been filled with numerous pleasing experiences associated with many good people working in a collaborative, respectful, and productive manner. The Francis H. Raymond award I am receiving today is both a tribute to me and to all the good people and organizations that are a part of my life from 1948 to present. I am/we are not done by any stretch of the imagination. We face some very difficult challenges regarding management of California’s wildland and urban forests. Working together we can make a difference.

Thank you one and all for your support and this recognition.