About the Instructors

John Punches

Extension Forester
Northeastern Oregon
Oregon State University

John has been with OSU Extension Service since 1994, serving as an Extension Forester and in a variety of leadership roles. He has degrees in forestry, wood science, and forest ecosystems/tree physiology.

Jacob Putney

Extension Forester
Baker County
Oregon State University

Jake joined the OSU Extension Forestry and Natural Resources team in 2019, after completing his master’s degree in forest management. His expertise is in forest health, inventory, modeling, and silviculture.

Thomas Stokely

Extension Forester
Central Oregon
Oregon State University

Thomas has been with the College of Forestry since 2010, completing a Master’s, Doctorate and Postdoctoral position in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society. He is now the Extension Forester, Assistant Professor of Practice for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. 

Daniel Leavell

Extension Specialist in Wildland Fire Science & Management
Oregon State University

Daniel has over 40 years’ experience in fire science/management and forest science/management. Following a wide-ranging career with the US Forest Service he became the Extension Forester in Klamath and Lake Counties in 2014. He transitioned to his role as our fire specialist in 2020. Daniel has degrees in forest management (BS), forest science (MS), and landscape/disturbance/community ecology (PhD).

Ariel Cowan

Regional Fire Specialist
Oregon State University

Ariel is the Regional Fire Specialist for Central Oregon. She joined OSU’s new Fire Program recently, coming from the Oregon Department of Forestry where she worked as a monitoring specialist, Stewardship Forester, and wildland fire fighter. She holds degrees in environmental science and forestry, and her work focuses on forest health, fire history, and ecology.

John Rizza

Regional Fire Specialist, Northeast Oregon, Oregon State University

John has recently joined OSU’s Fire Program, bringing experience from Oregon, Colorado, and New Mexico as a ranch and forestry manager, small acreage Extension specialist, landowner association representative, consulting forester, and state forest service forester. He holds degrees in natural resources and forestry.

Stephen Fitzgerald

Silviculture Specialist and Director of Research Forests
Oregon State University

Stephen has worked for OSU Extension since 1984 and has expertise in forest ecology, reforestation, silvicultural systems, prescribed burning, forest growth and yield, fuel reduction methods, harvesting, and density management, in both eastside and westside forests. He holds degrees in Silvics & Forest Resource Management from State University of New York College of Forestry & Environmental Sciences and the University of Idaho.

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