Graduate of Las Plumas, pioneer in her field


OROVILLE — Las Plumas High School Class of 1972 graduate Michelle Stevens is inducted into the Oroville Union High School District Hall of Fame.

This 2022 inductee was a member of the school band and active in the community as Honored Daughters of the Jobs Queen, DeMolay Sweetheart, and worked in the Butte County Youth Summer Program. Stevens was a graduation lecturer, girls’ state representative, and named to Who’s Who Among American Seniors.

She has received numerous awards, including California State and California Scholastic Federation scholarships to the University of the Pacific, two Bank of America Awards, the Voice of Democracy Speech Award, the Order of the Eastern Star Scholarship, the American Youth Foundation Leadership Award and the Fellows Club. Oroville’s Top Ten Community Achievement Award. She has also received the LPHS Music Award, Band and Outstanding Musician, Northern California Honor Band and All State Honor Band.


After graduating, Stevens attended Pacific University. After taking a course on “California Environments” and a writing and editing internship at the Sierra Club Bulletin in San Francisco, she transferred to Humboldt State in 1974. She earned a special bachelor’s degree in environmental journalism, a combination of Journalism and Botany in 1979. Stevens conducted her master’s research at the Aldo Leopold Reservation in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and received a Leopold Award fellowship with a summer stipend in 1981 and 1982. She earned her master’s degree in land resources from the University of Wisconsin in 1983. .

After grad school, Stevens worked for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boise, Idaho, where she started a wetlands and water quality program. A pioneer in her field, she helped field-test the wetland delineation manual, develop scientific protocols for wetland restoration and mitigation, create wetland education programs, and is still involved in the Wonder of Wetlands project for middle school students. From 1987 until late 1991, Stevens served as Senior Environmental Scientist in the Wetlands Section of the Washington State Department of Ecology in Olympia, Washington. She then enrolled in the ecology group at UC Davis, received a Swiss scholarship, and received her doctorate in 1999.

Stevens began her current position with the Sacramento State Department of Environmental Studies in 2007. She is a full professor, teaching wetland ecology, restoration ecology, ethnoecology, and other environmental courses. ‘environment. Since 2015, she has been involved in the Bushy Lake Eco-Cultural Restoration Project at

Stevens was widely published, authoring over 23 publications. She also received numerous honors and awards beginning in 1978 when she received the Western Writers of America Award. In 2016, she received the Award for Outstanding Iraqi Research, Network of Iraqi Scientists Abroad. In 2017, she received the CSUS, College of SSIS, Faculty Award for Outstanding Community Service. The Sacramento Environmental Council named her Environmentalist of the Year in 2021.

Stevens’ mother, Vaida Stevens, was a longtime and highly respected teacher in Oroville, who passed away in December 2021. It was while on a college field trip to marine biology with her mother that Stevens decided to pursue a career in the studies and protection of wetlands.

Stevens, who resides in Sacramento, will be among those inducted into the 2022 OUHSD Hall of Fame at the annual ceremony Oct. 15 at Feather Falls Casino.


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