K-State Research and Extension News
March 04, 2013
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Paul and Kristan Dean, Madison, Win Forest Conservation Award

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Former K-State Biology Professor Robert Robel Named Conservationist of the Year
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Paul and Kristan Dean of Madison, Kan. have been named recipients of the 2012 Forest Conservationist Award by the Kansas Wildlife Foundation. The Deans, along with 11 other Conservation Achievement Program Award winners, were honored at a Feb. 23 banquet in Emporia.

Also honored was long-time Kansas State University professor of biology, Robert Robel of Manhattan, who won the overall award, Conservationist of the Year. Robel passed away earlier this year, but his wife, Anise, accepted the award in his place.

The Dean family, who was nominated by Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, has been improving the woodland and forest resources on their Greenwood County tree farm for more than 40 years, the KWF stated in announcing the award. Paul Dean learned the values of forest and wildlife conservation from his father, Kenneth, who involved him in timber and wildlife habitat improvement projects since he was a boy. Over the years, harvest and timber stand improvement practices on their property improved the health of the forest, removing undesirable trees, such as honeylocust and Osage orange, and releasing higher quality trees such as black walnut and bur oak which increased acorn production for wildlife. 

“Paul and Kristan Dean are not only interested in conserving and managing the forest, woodland and wildlife resources on their property, they are encouraging others to leave a legacy of good environmental stewardship for future generations, including their son, Octavian,” the KWF news release stated.

The Dean family has worked with Dennis Carlson, Kansas Forest Service, south-central district forester.

For their efforts, the American Tree Farm System recognized the family’s property in 2003 as meeting their eight standards of forest sustainability, and 112 acres of woodlands surrounding Halderman Creek were certified as a Tree Farm, the KWF said. Most recently, thousands of black walnut and bur oak were planted on eight acres and an additional six acres of timber stand improvement work was completed.

The family improved their grasslands by removing woody species which enhanced habitat for upland birds and established grass buffers adjacent to Halderman Creek to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. 

In 2009 the Deans hosted a woodland management field day as part of the local Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) project.

The Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Forestry Association, Kansas Tree Farm Committee and Kansas Chapter of the Walnut Council also recognized Paul and Kristan as the 2012 Forest Stewardship Tree Farmers of the Year for the exceptional stewardship of their property.

The Forest Conservationists of the Year award is sponsored by the Kansas state chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Award sponsors included Westar, Inc., Kansas State Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Geary County Fish and Game Association, the Watershed Institute, the Jim Ruder family of WaKeeney, Kansas Farmers Union and the Emporia Area Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Mary Lou Peter
K-State Research & Extension News

Steve Sorensen 316-214-3001 or info@kswildlife.org