Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources has announced that Michael Mortimer is the new director of the Master of Natural Resources program in the National Capital Region.

Mortimer, a former faculty member in the college’s Department of Forestry on the Blacksburg campus, most recently served as director of forest policy for the Society of American Foresters in Washington D.C. His new position will be based at the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Va.

“Dr. Mortimer has taught in the Master of Natural Resources program and brings considerable experience and expertise to the position,” said Robert Bush, associate dean for research and graduate studies. “He knows the political landscape in the Washington D.C., area and will be an effective leader of the program.”

Mortimer follows David Trauger, who recently retired after seven years as director of the Master of Natural Resources program. During his tenure, Trauger helped to establish the master’s program and increased enrollment in natural resources courses in the National Capital Region from a handful of students in one or two courses to over 160 students in more than a dozen courses per semester. The program, which has rapidly grown in size and reputation, is targeted to serve natural resources government agencies and non-profit organizations, most of which are headquartered in the Washington D.C., area. Trauger will continue to serve the program as a part-time faculty member, advising students and teaching both in-class and distance learning courses.

Gary Evans, director of the Natural Resources Distance Learning Consortium in the National Capital Region, will be stepping down in October 2008. Evans led the development of the consortium, which was initiated through a joint venture agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. The consortium now includes 10 universities and agencies offering close to 150 courses, as well as masters programs and graduate certificates. Kieran Lindsey, who has served as a post-doctoral teaching fellow with the program for the past year, will take over the administrative duties of Evans, who will also stay on as a part-time faculty member.

“Both David Trauger and Gary Evans have contributed greatly to the College of Natural Resources. The programs they led and grew have put us on the map in the Washington D.C., area,” Bush noted.