Pennsylvania Game Commission Forester Recognized

- The Allegheny Society of American Foresters recognized Howard G. Wurzbacher Jr., of Titusville, with the Robert W. Bauer Outstanding Service to Forestry Award at the society’s winter meeting Feb. 20.

This award was named after former PGC NW Regional Forester Bob Bauer, who passed away in 2002 in a farming accident.

It was established to give official recognition to professional achievements in forestry; to recognize superior service to the Society of American Foresters; to provide a means of additional publicity showing the caliber of professional foresters and the forestry profession; to stimulate more participation of the section membership in society affairs; and to educate the public to the importance of the forestry profession.

Candidates are evaluated in three categories: 1. Professional achievement in the field of forestry. 2. Service and leadership in the Society of American Foresters including work in working groups, chapters, special projects or national office. 3. Service to local or regional community activities including church and civic organization.

The award is presented only once to any individual.

Howard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Science from Penn State University “79”. Past employment includes working as a log scaler and later a procurement forester for Fisher & Young and Endeavor Lumber companies.

He started his career with the Pennsylvania Game Commission in 1987 as a forest technician and progressed through the positions of forester and assistant regional forester.

He was promoted to his current position as Regional Forester in 2003 upon the death of his mentor, Robert W. Bauer.

As Regional Forester for the PGC Northwest Region, he is responsible for the supervision of a staff of six foresters, and forest-management activities on approximately 190,000 acres of state game lands within a 10-county area in northwestern Pennsylvania.

These activities include wildlife habitat improvement through timber cover mapping and habitat planning, commercial timber sale preparation and administration, herbicide application, prescribed fire, deer-deterrent fencing, and wildlife data collection.

Professional memberships include: Member of the PA Council of Professional Foresters, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, and the PA Forestry Association and Penn State Forest Resources Alumni Group Board of Directors.

Howard has held certification as a SAF Certified Forester since 2002.

His commitments to the Society of American Foresters are many. He has served as Allegheny SAF Awards Committee Chair 2004-2010, and PA Division Chair.

He currently serves on the following boards and committees: Roach-Bauer Forestry Forum Committee; PSU School of Forest Resources Alumni Group board (current president).

Commenting on the award, Keith Harbaugh, PA Game Commission Northwest Region Director said, “Over my career I have had the opportunity to work with many good people, including both the late Bob Bauer and Howard Wurzbacher. Having known Bob well, I can honestly say that he would have been extremely proud of Howard’s many accomplishments. Howard is a valuable part of my supervisory team and I am very pleased to see him recognized for his many accomplishments.”

Commenting on receiving the award, Howard said, “I am honored to receive such recognition from my peers. The fact that it was renamed in 2002 in honor of my mentor and friend Bob Bauer makes it all the better. Ironically, I had the pleasure of nominating Bob Bauer for this award in 1999 when I was serving as SAF Plateau Chapter Chair. To receive this honor myself is truly a humbling experience.”

Howard resides in the Titusville area with his wife Cindy. They have two adult daughters.

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