The PFA Awards Committee is responsible for overseeing the four awards the Association presents at the PFA Annual Meeting: The Joseph Trimble Rothrock Conservationist of the Year, the Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education, the PA Tree Farm Inspector of the Year, and the PA Tree Farmer of the Year. The PFA Tree Farm Committee selects the Tree Farm awards recipients.

In addition, through special approval of the PFA Board of Directors and in cooperation with the PFA Awards Committee, M.K. Goddard Award for Forest Sustainability has been presented by the PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative at the PFA Annual Meeting.

The Joseph T. Rothrock Award

The Rothrock Award recognizes actions and service that contribute to the continued conservation of Pennsylvania’s forest resources in the spirit of PFA’s founder, Joseph T. Rothrock.

Dr. Rothrock, often referred to as the “Father of Forestry in Pennsylvania,” was the first president of The Pennsylvania Forestry Association – the nation’s oldest state organization devoted to  forest conservation.  Rothrock served as Pennsylvania’s initial Commissioner of  Forestry from 1895 to 1904.  In 1903 he opened the Pennsylvania  Forestry Academy, now Penn State Mt. Alto, to train foresters.  He was ultimately responsible for acquiring nearly half of today’s Pennsylvania State Forest land.  In 1924, then Governor Gifford Pinchot, speaking of  Rothrock’s contributions to  the Commonwealth as a physician, educator, public servant and forester, said “…for generations and generations the benefits which he has conferred on his State will be reaped…”  The Rothrock  Award is an  engraved plaque, mounted on Pennsylvania Black Walnut, which includes a portrait of Dr. Rothrock in addition to the citation.

Through a public call for nominations, an individual, group or organization is selected for recognition according to the following criteria:  (1) value of contributions to the continued conservation of Pennsylvania’s forest resource (60%); (2) public recognition and stature of the individual in the field of resource conservation (30%); (3) other unique or special considerations demonstrating a long-term commitment to conservation (10%).

The Rothrock Award has been presented for nearly 70 years. You can find the list of distinguished winners here.

The Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education

The Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education honors those who have created innovative programs to educate individuals about the management and conservation of natural resources in Pennsylvania.

The award was established in memory of Roe S. “Sandy” Cochran (1925-1991), a beloved past director of PFA and a Penn State forest resources extension agent for 25 years. The Sandy Cochran Award is a red oak plaque on the back of which is a brief biography of Sandy Cochran and a list of organizations that have made the award possible.

Through the years, the Sandy Cochran Award award has been presented to a variety of individuals: from Bureau of Forestry employees to conservation district people to extension agents, and from teachers to specialists to private foresters. The Education Committee of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association or a subcommittee designated by the Education Committee serves as the review and selection committee for the award, which is presented at the PFA Annual Meeting by the director of Penn State’s Department of Ecosystem  Science and Management.

A nominee can be any individual  or organization who is active in ongoing natural resources education regardless of their affiliation.  It is not limited to  teachers or resource professionals.  The nominator should include a letter of  support for the nominee and should include background information on the nominee such as would be included in a vita.  A complete nomination will contain three additional letters of support for the nominee.  These letters should include information of the creativity of the educational programs,  the principle audiences affected by the programs (i.e. adults, high school students, elementary school students, 4H and/or resource professionals), the areas affected by the programs (i.e. statewide, region-wide, county, school district or local), and if possible, how the behavior of the participants was modified or changed because of the programs.

Guidelines for Nominations

Specific guidelines for the Rothrock Award and the Cochran Award can be obtained from the PFA Award Committee Chairman, c/o The Pennsylvania Forestry Association, 116 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101 or

Information about the PA Tree Farm Awards can be obtained from  the PA Tree Farm Program administrator at

Information about previous recipients of the M.K. Goddard Award can be obtained from the PaSFI administrator at