Recently retired Mass Wildlife forester John Scanlon was named as the 2021 winner of the John H. Lambert Forest Stewardship Award at the Massachusetts Forest Alliance’s online Annual Meeting on October 23rd..
The Lambert Award, named after former state forester Jack Lambert who was its first recipient, is MFA’s highest honor, is awarded for lifetime achievement in stewardship of woodlands in Massachusetts.
John recently retired after a 35-year career as the Habitat Program Supervisor for the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. A licensed forester and wildlife biologist, he oversaw efforts to create and enhance suitable habitats for threatened, endangered & declining species of wildlife and plants on Mass Wildlife’s 226,000 acres of wildlife lands.
John has used an ecosystem approach to managing habitats, seeking to find ways to benefit multiple species with careful, science-based management. He used harvesting as a tool to create the young forest habitats which have become rare in Massachusetts to benefit many declining species, and worked with other agencies to increase the use of prescribed burning to restore rare pine barrens that are important to species such as whippoorwills and butterflies. In other areas, large acreages of forest are being left to grow undisturbed to provide old forest habitats.
Recognizing that providing sufficient habitat for all the state’s at-risk species could not be done on state wildlife lands alone, John also spent many hours every year explaining the need for managing private lands to help declining species and how individual landowners could be involved. John began a series of habitat tours on wildlife management areas to show landowners and the public how different practices could be used to enhance different types of habitats. And he and others at Mass Wildlife helped create a grant program for towns, land trusts, and private landowners to help them create more diverse habitats on the lands they manage.
“Anybody who has gone with John on a habitat tour has undoubtedly learned a lot about habitat needs and how wildlife uses different sites,” said Forest Alliance President Dicken Crane. “I certainly learned an incredible amount from John walking through the woodlands my family sold to Fish & Wildlife.”
John’s passion for managing lands for threatened wildlife also led him to speak up about the need for active management of woodlands to meet the goals of the state’s Wildlife Action Plan and the benefits of science-based forest management.
John has been a tremendous steward of the state’s wildlife lands and current and future birders, hunters and wildlife lovers have and will benefit from his efforts.