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Patrick J. Shea Founders Award Address


2007 Founders Award Recipient

Retired Research Entomologist
Pacific Southwest Research Station
Davis, CA

Boise, Idaho; March 6, 2007


photo of Patrick J. Shea delivering Founders Award address, 2007

I began my Forest Service career in 1969 beginning as a GS-5 Biological Technician (Insects) with the Insecticide Evaluation Project located at the Pacific Southwest Research Station, Berkeley CA. One of my first assignments was to participate in a western spruce budworm efficacy field test of the insecticide Zectran that was being conducted in Darby, Montana. It was during this field season that I first met Mark McGregor, the first recipient of the Founders Award. He was accompanied by Jed Dewey, another R-1 entomologist. They were making a site visit as representatives of R-1, Forest Insect and Disease Management Unit. For whatever reason, Mark and I quickly became close friend and over the years worked on a number of budworm and bark beetle projects. Mark was an excellent field entomologist and during those first few years of my career he taught me a great deal about forest entomology in the inland empire and western spruce budworm specifically. Later we would embark on several years of developing strategies to deal with mountain pine beetle both on an individual tree basis and on the stand level.

Mark was not one to worry about things like experimental design, randomization, significance level, replication and the other niceties associated with conducting valid and efficient field experiments but concepts that were incredible important to me. To his thinking, his primary responsibility was to solve regional forest insect problems and provide forest land managers with management solutions to their insect problems...and the quicker the better. This difference in approach to problem solving was the cause of many late night discussions/heated arguments. Foremost in his mind was the question, "Was a particular effort going to assist the forest land manager?". If it wasn't, then he wanted to move on. The reason I mention Mark's devotion and single-mindedness about solving forest land managers problems is because throughout my career I tried to pursue a similar path. He was a dear friend and valued colleague and is still sorely missed.

One of the most rewarding and enjoyable research efforts I participated in was developing the experimental approach to determining the efficacy of various compounds for protecting individual high value conifers from bark beetle attack. This line of research started in the late 1970's due to a request from the Forest Insect and Disease Management group in Region 5. This was a time when the registration and use of lindane, like many other chlorinated hydrocarbons, were being questioned. Lindane was the sole material registered for protecting individual trees from attacked by a number bark beetles. There were several experimental approaches being used to test new insecticides for protecting trees from attacked by bark beetles but they all had drawbacks that limited there usefulness. Through the use of consultation with a number of disciplines including statisticians and entomologists with experience in western pine beetle biology, behavior, and pheromone chemistry, an experimental approached has evolved over time that is commonly used today. From a personal perspective this area of research was one of the most enjoyable of my 35-year career. I took personal enjoyment from these efforts for several reasons, three of which are the most important: (1) The results of these experiments are known in a relatively short time; (2) The results are put into practice within a reasonable amount of time; (3) Most importantly this line of research afforded me the opportunity to work with numerous very talented and quality colleagues that I was able to learn a great deal from.

Finally, I want to sincerely thank those colleagues that took the time and effort to put together my nomination for this prestigious award. I will forever be grateful. I also wish to thank the Founder's Award Committee for approving my nomination. I am truly humbled and grateful for their kind consideration.

Published in the 2007 WFIWC proceedings.