Please join me Wednesday, August 25th from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET as we chat with experts from the US Forest Service. Have you and your family Discovered the Forest? Visit www.DiscovertheForest.org to find forests and parks near you, check out stunning photographs with your kids, and even play the forest snapshot game! Join us Wednesday to learn more about discovering a new you in the beauty of nature, have your US park visit questions answered and even have the chance to win some fun prizes – compasses to get you started on your very own forest adventure!
Be sure to RSVP below and let us know you’ll be attending. You can also learn more by visiting the Discover the Forest Facebook page. Tweet you there!
Dr. Safiya Samman
As Director of the Conservation Education program of the US Forest Service, Dr. Safiya Samman leads an active and wide-ranging program that reaches more than four-million children and their educators each year. Although she has held various challenging professional positions, a strong thread of ‘education’ is woven throughout her 30+ year career.
Dr. Samman received her PhD in genetics, and has worked in the natural resources field for more than 30-years. A focus of her work has been on improving and protecting forest health through genetic principles. As a member of the Pacific Southwest Research Station’s genetic resources program, she was responsible for the development and management of disease resistance breeding and gene conservation strategies for the five-needle pines in California. She is proud to be a pioneer member of the “rust-busters” – a handful of people who worked on developing tree resistance to exotic disease white pine blister rust.
In the early 1980s, Dr. Samman founded and chaired the Department of Botany at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. While at the university, she developed an outreach program to create employment opportunities for graduates and encourage high school students to pursue careers in natural resources.
In 1998, Dr. Samman joined the national Forest Health Protection staff of the US Forest Service (State & Private Forestry) as a Geneticist/Forest Health Specialist. In this role, she helped coordinate and carry out national-level policies that protected and restored damaged ecosystems.
In 2004, Dr. Samman took the reins of the US Forest Service’s conservation education program. Her focus has been on rejuvenating the agency-wide program, providing high-quality materials and programs for children and their educators, and reaching out to new partners and supporters. Her passion is reaching out to children, and helping them build lasting connections to nature and to their public lands.
Barbara (Babs) McDonald is a Forest Service Social Scientist and founder and Editor of the Natural Inquirer, a Forest Service science education journal for middle school students. Since 1998, over 1.2 million Natural Inquirers have been distributed. Babs conceptualized and is involved in research to create a turnkey environmental education evaluation instrument based on the principles of ecology. In 1993, Babs created the first Urban Tree House in Atlanta, Georgia, and was involved in the partnership efforts to establish the Washington, DC and Milwaukee Urban Tree Houses. Prior to her work with the Forest Service, Babs was a Social Scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a Research Associate at the University of Georgia. Babs has a Ph.D. in Adult Education from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Natural Resource Management from N.C. State University, and a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation and Physical Education from Virginia Tech.