Mark Smith, wildlife extension specialist and the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Professor in Auburn University’s College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, has been appointed coordinator of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources team.
As part of Alabama Extension, the Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources, or FWNR, team helps address specific questions and concerns that citizens of Alabama may have about managing and enjoying the state’s abundant natural resources.
The FWNR team consists of regional extension agents, or REAs, county extension coordinators, or CECs, administrative staff and extension specialists who may have an additional appointment or affiliation with either Alabama A&M University or Auburn University.
As the team coordinator, Smith will work with the REAs who operate from seven geographic areas across Alabama to organize local workshops and field days, as well as to assist the public and land management professionals with questions about forestry, wildlife, ponds, invasive species and other natural resource management topics.
Smith will also coordinate extension specialists’ efforts to communicate research results to natural resource professionals and the public through extension publications, workshops, social media posts and other outlets.
“I’m honored to be chosen as the extension coordinator and I look forward to working with our Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources team to ensure we are providing relevant and impactful programming to address the natural resource needs of all Alabamians,” said Smith.
Smith joined the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in 2007. He has a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in wildlife sciences and doctorate in forest resources from Mississippi State University. His extension and applied research efforts focus primarily on wild pig damage management.
During his career, Smith has been an active member of The Wildlife Society, or TWS, and was recognized as a TWS Fellow in 2018.
“In this administrative capacity, Dr. Smith will lead the team in evaluating and reporting program accomplishments and outcomes and provide proactive onboarding, training and mentoring of new REAs,” said Becky Barlow, former FWNR team coordinator and newly appointed College of Agriculture associate dean for extension and assistant director for agriculture, forestry and natural resource programs.
“As an accomplished wildlife extension specialist, we feel confident his colleagues and the state will benefit from his vast knowledge and experience.”
Within Auburn’s College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, the FWNR team coordinator serves as a member of the college’s leadership team and will represent the college at state or regional level extension-related councils and forums.
“We are grateful to have Dr. Smith in this leadership role for the team and the college,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. “Smith fulfills a critical function to ensure the college’s impactful research is effectively communicated and shared for the benefit of all Alabama’s citizens.”
(Written by Jamie Anderson)