Forest Service researcher receives prestigious Presidential award
The USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station officially announced today that Dr. Lee Cerveny, a research social scientist based at its Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle, is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Cerveny will be presented with the award – which is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers – today at a formal White House ceremony.
“On behalf of the four hundred employees of the Pacific Northwest Research Station, I want to say how proud we are of Dr. Cerveny’s accomplishments,” said Bov Eav, Station Director. “Her research into the human dimensions of natural resource management provides insights that help guide land managers as they consider options for land use decisions.”
Cerveny was recognized for a decade of social science contributions that have elevated understanding of the human dimensions of natural resource management in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. In 1999, the same year she began working for the Forest Service, she launched a creative line of research examining the effects of a variety of social changes – including a sharp increase in cruise ship travel and subsequent explosion in nature-based tourism – on small communities in southeast Alaska. Since that time, her studies have expanded to include investigations of the use of science by recreation and fire managers and the role of partnerships in maintaining the Forest Service’s organizational capacity.
Most recently, Cerveny launched a multiyear study to visually map human activities and important places in forests on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. The community-workshop-based project is identifying the diversity of recreation, cultural, historical, and economic connections residents have to the Olympic Peninsula, information that will help managers and planners there make decisions about the area’s lands and resources.
“It is truly an incredible honor to be acknowledged by the White House and by the Department for making research contributions that are meaningful and valuable to others,” Cerveny said. “This award helps me to expand work on the Olympic Peninsula, an area that has experienced major economic transformation, with implications for how people relate to forests, parks, and other lands.”
As a PECASE recipient, Cerveny will be receiving a research grant that she will use to complete her regional human ecology mapping project. She also plans to begin studying emerging issues in the forests that surround cities, where land uses are rapidly changing with shifting economic conditions and the growth of new population groups.