Rural Forestry Coordinator Bob Atchison spoke on the mission and activities of the Kansas Forest Service, located in Manhattan on the Kansas State University Campus.  

The State Forest Service serves rural land owners, rural fire districts, communities, forest industries and citizens throughout the state.  The Forest Service is an independent agency within KSU Research and Extension.  Thirty specialists and seasonal workers address a variety of areas of specialization:  forest utilization and marketing, water quality, wild fire prevention and management, community forestry, GIS communication, and outreach.  Ten percent of Kansas is in woodlands, and these vital resources are under constant stress from clearing for agriculture and other development. 

Bob Atchison, brother of LCR member Fred Atchison, earned a degree in Forestry from the University of Missouri and is a second generation Forester.  Bob has received the President’s Award for Excellence from KSU, the National Association of State Forester’s Achievement Award for Resource Management, and was Kansas Wildlife Federation’s 2017 Conservationist of the year.   

Three years ago Bob received a Forestry Grant to attend a two-month course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  Participants included a variety of people working in national and state government, including elected officials, city managers, mayors and agency heads.  Classes focused on the historical relationship between citizens and their government.  Bob cited numerous historical examples of contentious citizen interactions with government.