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21CSC Champion of the Year 2019: Tate Thriffiley, USDA Forest Service

Tate Thriffiley

De Soto National Forest, De Soto Ranger District
USDA Forest Service

The 21CSC Champion of the Year Award is presented on an annual basis to dedicated individuals from organizations and federal agencies that partner with 21CSC programs. The 2019 honorees will be recognized in Washington, DC during the annual meeting of the partnership for the 21CSC, part of The Corps Network 2019 National Conference.


Read a Q&A with Tate Thriffiley – Click here

Tate Thriffiley received his B.S. in Environmental Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). While pursuing his degree, he began his career at DeSoto National Forest. After graduating from USM, he worked as a Field Crew Supervisor, a NEPA Coordinator, and later as an Environmental Officer with Mississippi’s Military Department.

For the past 16 years, Thriffiley has served in a diverse array of positions with De Soto National Forest, working in all aspects of rare, sensitive, threatened, and endangered plants. He currently serves as an Ecologist. He also serves as a primary contact for GulfCorps, an initiative to restore coastal habitats by expanding Corps capacity in the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

“What makes [Tate] an incredible project partner is that he is equally passionate about the development of young people as he is about environmental and conservation stewardship,” said Stephanie Mathes, Director of Gulf Operations for The Corps Network.

Thriffiley is an original member and co-founder of an award-winning outreach program, Blues Rangers Conservation Education program. He understands what it means to nurture young adults and has consistently displayed patience, creativity, and caring when working with Corpsmembers in 21CSC programs. He also understands the importance of providing Corpsmembers with comprehensive training and certifications. Thriffiley engaged trainers to provide all Year-2 GulfCorps members with S-212 Sawyer A-level certification. Some Corpsmembers also received training in prescribed fire. These efforts have allowed the GulfCorps programs to have a much larger impact than initially anticipated. Corpsmembers have participated in a range of projects, including felling trees, conducting prescribed burns, and mapping and monitoring habitats as part of a multi-year project to restore Pale-topped Pitcher Plant bogs at De Soto.

Over the years, Thriffiley has earned more than 26 awards in recognition of his extensive impact.