Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried and her fellow Cabinet members presented Roy “Wayne” Rushing, Jr. of the Florida Forest Service with the Jim Stevenson Resource Manager of the Year award, recognizing his outstanding leadership and dedication to protecting Florida’s natural resources.
“I am honored to recognize Wayne for his service and commitment to protecting lives and lands, and to making Florida a special place to live, work, play and visit,” said Commissioner Fried.
Since 1998, Rushing has worked diligently to conserve native state lands with prescribed fire, to improve recreational opportunities in state forests, and to maintain natural habitats by controlling invasive species.
“In a year with filled with adversity following Hurricane Michael, I am proud of Wayne’s unwavering leadership in the Panhandle,” said Jim Karels, State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service.
Rushing has served the Florida Forest Service in multiple leadership capacities, including Senior Forest Ranger on Point Washington State Forest. In 2016, Wayne was promoted to Forest Area Supervisor in Bay County, where he oversees managing an elevated wildfire program, a local Cooperative Forestry Assistance position and all aspects of Pine Log State Forest, which covers more than 7,000 acres.
The Florida Forest Service, a division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, manages more than 1 million acres of state forests and provides forest management assistance on more than 17 million acres of private and community forests. The Florida Forest Service is also responsible for protecting homes, forestland and natural resources from the devastating effects of wildfire on more than 26 million acres.