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Conifer Translational Genetics Network team with United States Department of Agriculture 63rd Secretary’s Annual Honor Awards held in the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, September 14, 2011.

Front Row, L to R: Fikret Isik(NC State), Deputy Secretary Merrigan, Nicholas Wheeler(adjunct - NC State & Oregon State), and Jill Wegrzyn(UC-Davis). Back row, L to R: Ross Whetten(NC State), Konstantin Krutovsky(Texas A&M), and Randy Johnson(US Forest Service) USDA photo by Bob Nichols

The Conifer Translational Genomics Network Coordinated Agricultural Project (CTGN -CAP) was honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC on September 14, 2011 with the prestigious 2011 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary’s Honor Award in the category of Ensuring our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while enhancing our water resources.

Dr. Nick Wheeler with USDA Sec, Vilsack and Dept. Sec. MErrigan

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (l) and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan (r), with Dr. Nick Wheeler (c) representing the CTGN Team. USDA photo by Lance Cheung

These awards are the most prestigious Departmental awards presented by the Secretary of Agriculture and recognize exceptional leadership, contributions, or public service by individuals or groups who support the mission/goals of the USDA.

The CTGN CAP is an integrated research, education, and extension project aimed at maintaining or restoring healthy forests and ecosystems by bringing genomic-assisted breeding to applications in the United States.  The multi-state, multi-institution project is funded by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the USDA Forest Service.  The CTGN draws from or delivers to virtually all conifer genomics scientists and tree breeders in the United States.

Project team members represent five universities, the Texas Forest Service, and the United States Forest Service.  Additional guidance and feedback comes from advisory committees: a Scientific Advisory Board, an Extension Committee, and an Education Committee.  Project evaluation for extension and education activities is provided by an independent evaluator from Cedar Lake Research Group, LLC.

Team members from NC State University’s Department of Forestry & Environmental Resources include:  Dr. Steve McKeand, Dr. Ross Whetten, Dr. Fikret Isik, Dr. J.B. Jett, Dr. Nicholas Wheeler, Joshua Steiger, Jaime Zapata, Funda Ogut, W. Patrick Cumbie, Jin (Sherry) Xiong.

Drs. Whetten, Isik and Wheeler from the NC State team made the trip to DC for the awards ceremony and reception with Secretary Vilsack.

More Information about The Conifer Translational Genomics Network Coordinated Agricultural Project

See more photos from the US Department of Agriculture 63rd  Secretary’s Annual Honor Awards in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Septemeber 14, 2011.