Melissa Jenkins, WPEF BOD Secretary, Retires from the USFS
In a true testament to the mark Melissa Jenkins has left on the world of whitebark pine conservation and the people who work in it, we had board members fighting over who got to write a tribute to her. You can read 2 tributes to Melissa below.
The Forest Service has lost its most passionate voice for restoring whitebark pine ecosystems. Melissa Jenkins, after 40 years of public service, has decided to hang up her White boots and start another meaningful chapter in her exciting life. It is without argument that Melissa has been the most dedicated advocate for whitebark pine for over twenty years. She has led many efforts to bring scientists together with managers to find a viable way to restore these declining forests from her days on the Targhee NF to the Flathead NF, and more recently, the Crown of the Continent. And more importantly for us, Melissa has also been the backbone of the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation for all of its 20 years of existence. Yet her passion for the species is only outweighed by her zeal for knowledge and information about this iconic ecosystem. To her credit, Melissa has successfully merged her passion with an unquenchable thirst for whitebark pine science. She was a true force of change in the Forest Service for high elevation ecosystems. She will be missed in public land management. Luckily, she has agreed to stay as WPEF secretary for another three year term, so many will still see her at various WPEF events in the near future.
Thanks Melissa for all that you have done for whitebark pine.
Melissa Jenkins retires from the Forest Service after 40 years of dedicated service. She started her career in 1980 on the Targhee National Forest and has been, in her words, “living the dream” ever since. Melissa spent her entire career working in all aspects of Forestry. She worked in timber sales, reforestation and silviculture.
During her time with the Forest Service, she trained, mentored, and coached many of her employees. Melissa is best known for her skills in silviculture and her passion for whitebark pine; fondly known as the Lorax of whitebark. She was the first chair of the whitebark pine subcommittee for the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee. Her pioneering efforts in the GYE led to the first whitebark pine strategy in the Western United States. She was also instrumental in starting a similar effort for the Crown of the Continent.
One of her many firsts was planting whitebark pine seedlings after the 1988 Yellowstone fires. This led to much learning and sharing of the proper planting techniques for her favorite species.
As an accomplished Silviculturist, Melissa is highly sought after to mentor new forest ecologists and ensure they have the proper training for certification. Her training is rigorous and her knowledge and passion will continue through her mentees.
Thank you Melissa for making the Forest Service a truly wonderful place to work. I will always appreciate our times together and sharing your knowledge with me to further my understanding of forested ecosystems. You will be truly missed.
–Your mentee, Liz Davy