College of Forestry & Conservation to Honor Four Alumni During Homecoming

September 22, 2014

MISSOULA – The University of Montana College of Forestry and Conservation will host a celebration honoring four forestry alumni during the 2014 UM Homecoming festivities. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, near the High Wheels located north of the Forestry Building.

This year’s College of Forestry and Conservation distinguished alumni are Russell Graham ’72 of Moscow, Idaho; Peter Leech, ’65 of Meredith, N.H.; and Zane Smith ‘55 of Springfield, Ore. Jim Durglo ’97 of St. Ignatius is the recipient of this year’s College of Forestry and Conservation Distinguished Native American Alumni award.

Graham has more than 39 years of research experience with the Rocky Mountain Research Station. He holds master’s and doctorate degrees in silviculture from the University of Idaho. Graham has published more than 210 scholarly articles with his principle research focusing on long-term forest productivity and landscape processes. He led the Hayman Fire (Colorado) Study Team and a team that reviewed the Fourmile Canyon Fire, one of the most costly fires in Colorado’s history. For 38 years he has been in charge of the Priest River and Deception Creek experimental forests of northern Idaho and has been in charge of the Boise Basin (southern Idaho) and Black Hills (South Dakota) experimental forests. 

Leech, a 1965 graduate of the Montana School of Forestry, was commissioned through the Army ROTC Program and immediately went on active duty. He served for 14 years with overseas service in Vietnam and Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Parachutist’s Badge. In 1979, Leech joined Weyerhaeuser Company's Southern Timberlands Division serving in a variety of operating forestry positions in Oklahoma and later in Mississippi and Alabama. He established the Sustainable Forestry Initiative programs in both Mississippi and Alabama. In 2001, he received the Mississippi Forestry Association’s President’s Citation. In his final job assignment Leech created the environmental management system for Weyerhaeuser’s million-acre Mississippi/Alabama Region Tree Farm. 

Smith retired from the U.S. Air Force Ready Reserve and from the U.S. Forest Service, where he worked for 34 years. He was a district ranger, forest supervisor, the national director of recreation and wilderness and the regional forester for California, Hawaii and Micronesia. For 10 years he worked as a natural resources consultant for Ecologically Sustainable Development, Inc. and Overseas Private Investment Corporation in Russia, Mongolia, China and Argentina. Zane served the state of Oregon for 12 years as its Fish and Wildlife commissioner. He served on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and was a member of the Recreation Trails Council. Zane also held longtime volunteer positions with the American Forests and as the USDA representative to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Durglo is a member of the Confederated Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai tribes. He has more than 30 years of experience in wildland fire, forest planning and management, and environmental compliance. He has been the forest manager for the CSKT since 2003 and is the chair of the Inter-tribal Timber Council’s operations committee and the Salish Kootenai College board of directors.

For more information call the College of Forestry and Conservation at 406-243-6693.

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Contact: Leana Schelvan, director of communications, College of Forestry and Conservation, 406-243-6693, leana.schelvan@umontana.edu.