Nebraska State Forester Scott Josiah to Retire

DATE: 7/18/2017

Scott Josiah, state forester and director of the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS), will retire on July 28 after 18 years of service to the University of Nebraska.

After serving for six years as state extension forester, Josiah has held the role of NFS director for 12 years. Under his leadership, the NFS faced an era of unprecedented change, as well as historic organizational growth. Most notably, Josiah oversaw the blending of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum with the Nebraska Forest Service, forming a turn-key community forestry and sustainable landscapes service program—one of the largest of any state forestry agency.

Intensifying wildfires, drought, floods, severe weather events and the discovery of the emerald ash borer led to numerous successful partner-based legislative initiatives during Josiah’s tenure. Additionally, forest fuels reduction, wildland firefighter training and aviation support, and the acquisition of refurbished surplus equipment are all aiding volunteer fire departments in their missions to protect tens of thousands of Nebraskans across the state.

Scott Josiah was instrumental in multiple research projects to help advance the hybrid hazelnut industry.  Doug Farrar, Vice PresidentArbor Day Foundation

As a founding member of a national hazelnut research consortium, Josiah was instrumental in advancing hybrid hazelnut research in Nebraska. With support from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the U.S. Forest Service, he facilitated the establishment of the only urban and community forestry undergraduate major west of the Mississippi. He has co-chaired the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition and chaired the Council of Western State Foresters. Josiah was appointed by and served two U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture on the Forestry Research Advisory Council and the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, and is currently chair-elect of the Board of Trustees of the Arbor Day Foundation.

Josiah earned a B.S. degree in forestry from the State of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, obtained a M.S. in ecological restoration from the University of Illinois at Carbondale, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in forest policy and administration. His career led to work in New York, the US Territory of Guam, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Haiti and a number of other foreign countries.

The search for Josiah's successor is underway; however, inquiries or questions about the transition can be directed to trees@unl.edu or by calling us at 402-472-2944.