Professor Emeritus and Forestry Extension Specialist Jeffrey Kirwan received the Crown Award from the Virginia Department of Forestry. The award — the department’s highest civilian honor — was established to recognize an individual or entity that has not only gone beyond the call of duty, but has set an admirable standard of excellence. Kirwan is only the fourth recipient in the award’s history.

“Jeff is no stranger to high praise for significant achievement,” said State Forester Carl Garrison. “He has a sustained and long-term track record of success, and I’m proud to add to his legacy of excellence and unparalleled achievement.”

Kirwan dedicated many years to researching trees in Virginia as part of the state’s Big Tree Program, which prompted him to co-author the widely acclaimed “Remarkable Trees of Virginia” book. “Jeff has spoken to thousands of children about the trees in the book, and his tree conservation efforts have garnered much publicity for trees, forests, the environment, and the broader efforts of our entire college,” said Dean Paul Winistorfer. In addition to serving the commonwealth and spreading knowledge to people of all ages, Kirwan walked across Virginia in 11 days as part of a sabbatical in 2007.

Among his many accomplishments since joining the Virginia Tech community in 1978, Kirwan led a natural resources and environmental education program that reached more than 360,000 youth, and incorporated service learning into classes taught in both the college and the American Indian Studies program long before the practice became commonplace.

“In addition to being an excellent teacher, Jeff served the public with distinction as a 4-H agent in Loudoun and Albemarle counties,” added Garrison. “We are proud to be able to recognize and thank Jeff for all he has done in service to the citizens of the commonwealth.”