Private forest landowner and forestry advocate Wes Rutt, who lives west of Fort Collins, recently received a Citizenship Award from the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the Society of American Foresters. The award recognizes an SAF member, or non-member, for his or her service to the local community and the improvement of the image of the forestry profession.

In 1989, Rutt and his wife, Nicki, purchased forested property in the Stove Prairie area. At the time, they had no experience living in or caring for the forest. They soon began working with the Colorado State Forest Service to develop a forest management plan that they have followed ever since.

As a member of the Larimer County Tree Farmers (the local chapter of the American Tree Farm System), Rutt developed one of the first tree farm websites (treefarmer.com), which he continues to maintain. He has served in multiple roles within the Larimer County and Colorado State Tree Farm programs.

Rutt has inspired many landowners to become engaged in managing their land for improved forest health and protection from insects and diseases, wildfire mitigation through creating defensible space and implementing Firewise practices. Countless children also have benefited from his forestry outreach programs for youth. Many local government officials have even been enlightened by Rutt as to the need for good forestry practices and policy.

“When people in northern Colorado are looking for a spokesperson on forest management on private land, Wes Rutt is the first name to be mentioned,” said Dave Cawrse, Colorado/Wyoming SAF chair.

The Society of American Foresters was founded in 1900 and is the leading professional organization of foresters in the U.S., with 12,000 members. It has been at the forefront of evolving forest management for more than 100 years, with an emphasis on thriving forests, essential resources and strong communities.

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