Ecologist recognized by Department of Interior for Exceptional Scientific Contributions

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Research Ecologist Dr. Craig Allen was recently awarded the Department of Interior Distinguished Service Award for developing a deep understanding of forests, landscape ecology

Dr. Craig D. Allen, Research Ecologist retired from the Fort Collins Science Center, received the Department of Interior Distinguished Service Award on September 23, 2021. The Service Award, considered the highest honorary recognition an employee can receive within the Department, is given to an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to science.  

Dr. Craig Allen on a mountain in the Jemez mountain range in New Mexico.

Dr. Craig Allen in the Jemez Mountain Range in New Mexico. (Public domain.)

Allen was recognized for his impact on land and resource management in the American West through advances in the understanding, communication, and implementation of science. Allen is a renowned expert in landscape ecology, working with national and international partners to publish and implement research on sustaining the world’s forests. 

Allen’s career with the Department of Interior spanned 35 years and focused on forest ecology and tree mortality in the face of environmental changes, like warming and drought. During his career, he acted as leader of the New Mexico Landscapes Field Station (located in the Bandelier National Monument), championing place-based science that bridges the gap between long-term research and land managers in New Mexico and the Southwest United States.  

In addition to the Department of Interior Distinguished Service Award, Allen was awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 2010 for his work to establish a model science program to support land management at the Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico. Allen has also been selected as an Ecological Society of America Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and authored over 130 publications.  

Dr. Allen was recognized during the 75th Departmental Honor Awards Convocation. The virtual Convocation recognized 100 Department of Interior Employees for extraordinary contributions to science and the public service.  

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