Forest health institute at NAU names new executive director

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — An institute that works on forest health out of Northern Arizona University has a new executive director.

Andrew Sánchez Meador was chosen in a national search to lead the Ecological Restoration Institute. He starts in the role Wednesday.

Sánchez Meador, an associate professor of forest biometrics and quantitative ecology at NAU, has studied how wildfires shape forests across the Southwest and how to restore them, pushing for the use of new technology. The institute works closely with New Mexico Highlands University and Colorado State University.

Sánchez Meador replaces Wally Covington, who founded the institute and retired in late January after about 45 years at NAU.

Sánchez Meador previously worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., and in southern New Mexico with the Lincoln National Forest.