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SUNY ESF’s Dr. Mariann Johnston Named Society of American Foresters Fellow

Ranger School Director Honored for Industry Service and Leadership

Dr. Marrian Johnston

Dr. Mariann Johnston, director of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Ranger School, was named a 2021 Fellow for the Society of American Foresters (SAF). The Fellow Award recognizes SAF members who have demonstrated long-standing service to and leadership in the forestry profession at the local, state, and national levels.

Johnston, a Certified Forester, joined the Ranger School faculty in 2008 and was named director in 2020. She is the first woman to lead the Ranger School in the institution's 109-year history.

"Dr. Johnston's commitment to forest health and the education of future foresters at the Ranger School has long been known to the ESF community, and to see her honored on a national scale speaks volumes about her dedication to SAF and The Ranger School," said ESF President Joanie Mahoney. "As climate change creates new environmental issues, training forestry professionals prepared to identify and solve problems is paramount to creating a sustainable future. To be named a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters is a well-deserved honor and we are proud to see Dr. Johnston's dedication to SAF and the forestry profession so recognized."

Johnston was awarded for her significant involvement, exemplary action, and sustained leadership with SAF. She first became involved as an undergraduate student at Colorado State University. After returning from service in the forestry program for Peace Corps Ecuador and as a Peace Corps technical trainer in the Environmental Education and Forestry program, she entered graduate school at the University of Idaho and was active in the student SAF chapter. She served in the professional chapter of SAF while a research associate with the Intermountain Forest Tree Nutrition Cooperative at the University of Idaho and as secretary for the Palouse-Snake River chapter. She then was councilor-at-large for the executive committee of the Inland Empire section. In the early 2000s, she began working on website communications for the Society and received a communications award for her efforts in 2004.

After moving to New Hampshire, Johnston joined the Granite State Chapter of SAF and became the website coordinator for the New England SAF. While at ESF's Ranger School she ran for chair of the New York SAF (NYSAF), which entails a six-year commitment as chair-elect, chair, and immediate past-chair. Following her service as NYSAF chair, Johnston was asked to serve on the national level SAF Certification Review Board, which oversees the Certified Forester program. In 2018, she was elected as district director for New York and New England and will serve on the SAF Board of Directors through December of this year.

"I believe in service to one's profession and value the many benefits of SAF," said Johnston. "SAF provides accreditation oversight to several ESF academic programs and maintains certification standards and continuing education opportunities for practitioners. Being a member of SAF is an important part my career pathway, and its an honor to give back in some way."

About the Ranger School

The Ranger School offers students a unique educational experience in a spectacular natural setting. The school confers the associate in applied science degree in forest technology, land surveying technology, and environmental and natural resources conservation. Its one-plus-one plan allows students to complete their first year at the college of their choice, then spend their second year at the Ranger School. Once they've earned their associate degree they have the option to attend ESF's Syracuse campus to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.