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ELKO — Susan Elliott, minerals and geology program manager for the U.S. Forest Service, was recently awarded the Washington Office USDA Forest Service Minerals and Geology Management program’s Liz Mathews Award for Excellence for 2018. This is the first time the award has been bestowed since 2009.

“I was very surprised and grateful for the recognition,” Elliott said. “I am so happy to be part of such a talented Forest Service minerals group.”

Paul Johnson, minerals deputy director, presented the award to Elliot in Denver in October. He said Elliott has demonstrated exemplary leadership and contributed significantly to the minerals and geology program, providing leadership and technical expertise from the Forest on up to the Washington Office. She also has been instrumental in shaping the success of the largest locatable minerals program on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Elliott has served as the minerals program manager since 2006 and previously worked in private industry, primarily at engineering firms, then for the Bureau of Land Management Elko District before joining the USFS. She has lived in Elko since 1996.

The mission of the Forest Service’s minerals and geology management program is “to provide for the sustainable use and enjoyment of mineral and geologic resources on the National Forests,” according to the USFS.

Elliott said she is mainly “responsible for caring for the lands and serving the people by ensuring the minerals and geology program responds to America’s needs in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Elliott earned dual bachelor’s degrees in geology and earth sciences with a minor in environmental science, and a master’s degree in geology with an emphasis on hydrogeology — all from the University of Nevada, Reno, Mackay School of Mines. She graduated magna cum laude for her undergraduate and graduate degrees, and received a Mackay School of mines top geologist award.

The Liz Mathews Award for Excellence was established to honor the memory and work of Liz Mathews, former Forest Service geologist in the southwestern region. Mathews was respected for her tireless dedication to the work and people of the program.

Michael Fracasso, assistant director of geological resources, hazards and services, was tasked with resurrecting the award and produced a handcrafted Welsh coal field miner’s lamp to give to Elliott.

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