Jonathan Kays, Extension Forestry Specialist

Image Credit: Edwin Remsberg Photography

February 10, 2021

Jonathan Kays received the Technology Transfer Award from the Society of American Foresters (SAF) -- an award that recognizes outstanding performance in the areas of technology transfer, implementation, and Extension -- in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. 

Kays, a forestry specialist at the University of Maryland Extension’s Western Maryland Research and Education Center, has demonstrated leadership on a variety of fronts involving technology transfer, otherwise known as the sharing of knowledge, skills, or technology to make them accessible to a wider range of users. As a statewide Extension specialist, he has led programs from traditional forest management and silviculture perspective to new and innovative areas such as biosolids, wood energy, wildlife damage, and the Woods in Your Backyard collaborative program.

“In my mind, he represents what Extension forestry is all about. He exhibits extraordinary teaching skills, listens to his stakeholders, and creates scholarly products that are used all over the country,” said Bill Hubbard, Assistant Director and Extension Program Leader for Environmental and Natural Resources.

Kays demonstrates a deep understanding and knowledge of the value, importance, and best practices for effective technology transfer. He has led the regional North East Forest Resources Extension Committee several times during his career and recently has assisted in leading regional educational programs in intergenerational land transfer, small woodlot management, and podcast technology.  

“To be recognized by peers in your profession for your work and impact is humbling and one of the highest measures of professional accomplishment. It means a lot!” said Kays.

Kays has overseen the production of a well-received newsletter and other publications that have reached thousands of stakeholders. He provides leadership on a number of state-wide programs that require technology transfer expertise, such as statewide Tree Farm System committees, the Maryland Forestry Association, and the statewide Wood Coalition Task Force. He also initiated the Maryland Woodland Stewards Program in 1990. 

“I have trained over 500 landowners to this day,” said Kays. “The excitement and revelations I saw in each class as woodland owner volunteers' eyes were opened to the possibilities and a deeper understanding of forest and wildlife management was so rewarding.”

After participating in Kays’ educational programs, many stakeholders have adopted sustainable forest management practices and have promoted those practices to their neighbors and other landowners, he said. 

The award includes an honorarium of $1,000, a complimentary SAF convention registration and up to $500 to offset travel expenses. The award is presented during an awards ceremony at the SAF national convention.

To see a full list of this year’s SAF award winners or to learn more about SAF, please visit To learn more about Kays’ forestry management programs at UME, please visit