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SESAF honors Gandhi, Westcot at annual meeting

(Left) Dr. Kamal Gandhi and (right) Gail Westcot

Warnell's Dr. Kamal Gandhi and Gail Westcot, who is the director of the Mary Kahrs Warnell Education Center, were both honored recently for their contributions to forestry.

Gandhi, associate professor of forest entomology, and Westcot were recognized at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Society of American Foresters in late January. Gandhi received the Research and Development Award, and Westcot won the Public Education and Technology Transfer Award.

Both Gandhi and Westcot accepted their awards at the 2017 SESAF Annual Meeting in Florida.

At Warnell, Gandhi works on the community and population ecology of forest insects under the context of insect-plant interactions, invasion dynamics and forest disturbances. Her research on native pests – southern pine beetle and pine engraver beetles — and exotic forest insects — like the emerald ash borer and Eurasian woodwasp — has a strong applied focus where she assists with integrated pest management and conservation issues.

“I feel very honored and humbled by this award,” Gandhi said. “This award is representative of all the hard-work of my amazing peers, colleagues, mentors and students. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such incredibly supportive and talented folks at Warnell and beyond.”

As director of the Warnell Forest Education Center near Savannah since 2001, Westcot is a teacher, advocate and natural resources ambassador. She focuses on youth education through forestry and natural resource outreach programming, working with local school groups, 4-H, the FFA, Boy Scouts of America, and other visitors to the Center to provide education about natural resource conservation and management.

“Being recognized for providing forestry education for children and teachers says a lot about the Society of American Foresters and what the SAF deems valuable to the profession of forestry,” Westcot said. “From my first day on the job 16 years ago, SAF members have consistently been a source of support, encouragement, advice and friendship. I am so grateful to be a part of a group of people who care so much about both their profession and their colleagues.”

The Southeastern Society of American Foresters

The Southeastern Society of American Foresters (SESAF) is one of 33 multi-state/state societies that make up the national body known as the Society of American Foresters. SESAF is composed of professional foresters and forest technicians from the three-state region of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

Since 1900, the Society of American Foresters has been dedicated to improving the health and productivity of America's forests. SAF provides information and networking opportunities to prepare its nearly 18,000 members for the challenges and the changes that face natural resource professionals.

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