CHESTERFIELD, N.H. — Karen Bennett, New Hampshire’s State Extension Forester and a longtime expert source of practical information for timberland owners, was honored today for her long service to the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) with the NHTOA’s Kendall Norcott Award.

The award, named for the NHTOA’s first executive director and forester Kendall Norcott, is the NHTOA’s most prestigious award and recognizes outstanding achievement in forestry and timberland management.

Jasen Stock, executive director of the NHTOA,  says Karen’s career experience translates into a dependable, reliable, well-informed resource that has helped the state’s landowners for many years. “The Kendall Norcott Award honors exceptional service to our organization and our members,” says Jasen, “and Karen is the perfect person to honor this way. Her help and support have been a mainstay of not just the NHTOA but also for New Hampshire’s timberland owners. She’s invaluable.”

Karen Bennett grew up in Danvers, Mass., outside of Boston, in an outdoorsy family that she describes as “practical.” Her father was a local scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts — Karen has four brothers and three sisters — and she often tagged along on Scout trips to the White Mountains. By the time she was 12 years old, she had her patch for hiking all of the 4,000-footers in New Hampshire. She got into forestry as a kind of planned accident. “When you were 16 or 17, you were supposed to pick a major. I picked forestry — it was either that or oceanography, which I didn’t know anything about either.” But she fell in love with forestry, she says. “I love learning new things, and I learned so much about the forest that I had been hiking in all those years, how to identify trees and kinds of wood. It was very practical knowledge, which set well with my personality.”

Karen says she continues to learn from the forest. “I’m still learning how to use the natural environment well, to understand how things work and how to use this resource responsibly. It’s been meaningful work,” she concludes. “Really, there’s no better thing in your life than family and meaningful work.”