Dr. Beth Brantley Receives 2019 Sandy Cochran Award for Excellence in Natural Resources Education

    November 25, 2019

    Beth Brantley started her teaching career at Penn State Mont Alto in 1997 and earlier this year left her position as an Associate Teaching Professor to work as a plant pathologist with Bartlett Tree Experts. Mont Alto has always had a history of producing excellent foresters. Beth demonstrated a commitment to forestry education that was technically excellent and very invested in her students. She was (and remains) well-loved by her students, and her students are well equipped with ready-to-use forestry skills. She estimates that between 30 and 40% have gone on to finish a four-year degree at University Park.

    Many who have watched Beth interact with her students often remarked about her enthusiasm for forestry, her love of teaching, and her love of the students, which she projected loud and clear –it was always genuine. Her students often acknowledge how she inspired them in one way or another.

    While at Penn State Mont Alto, Beth taught over 400 students, who had an employment rate of over 90%! Beth was committed to helping students find positions and often personally reached out to employers with recommendations.

    She realized that, while students need a solid forestry education, they also need more than just instruction to enter the professional world: they need mentorship and encouragement. Beth made sure her students were exposed to professional societies, such as SAF and PFA – and supported attendance at local, regional, and even national meetings/conventions. She strategically introduced students to professionals at every opportunity as she required them to attend presentations with her. She also required students attending SAF national conventions to present or to submit a poster, which is uncommon for students seeking technical degrees. This effort helped students understand professionalism and to put it into practice.

    Like Sandy Cochran, Beth has demonstrated excellence in forestry education and professionalism. Her dedication to the success and professional development of her students is a legacy to her enthusiasm and dedication to forestry.