Michael A. Valenti
Delaware State Forester
Michael was born and raised in Stamford, CT, and earned a B.S. in Forestry from the University of New Hampshire in 1982. He then earned two subsequent M.S. degrees: Forest Biometrics from Louisiana State University (1984) and Forest Biology from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (1986). For the next 2½ years he worked in the tree and shrub care industry as a certified Massachusetts arborist. Then in 1989 he attended Washington State University as a Ph.D. candidate in the entomology department studying under a forest entomologist/theoretical ecologist. This degree was conferred in 1994. For the next year, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher investigating the spread of the virulent black stain fungus by bark beetles.
In 1995, Michael was hired as the Forest Health Specialist by the Delaware Forest Service (DFS) and was responsible for monitoring forest pests, completing an annual aerial defoliation survey of the entire state, and assisting with other forestry programs as needed. During this time he became an active participant with Delaware’s out-of-state wildland firefighting crew and eventually worked his way up to Crew Boss. These skills would serve him well when in 2004 he was promoted to Assistant Forestry Administrator. This job included administering and managing the wildland fire program. Then in 2010 he became the Forestry Administrator and currently still serves in this role. He has now been employed by the State of Delaware for more than 21 years.
During his first year with the DFS, Michael became involved in a collaborative capacity building grant between Delaware State University (DSU) and the Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD. Students from DSU participated in field work at the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area testing pesticide efficacy on the gypsy moth. This relationship with DSU eventually led to an adjunct faculty position at DSU. Since 2002, he has taught an introduction to entomology class to undergraduates every other year. In 2007 he expanded his teaching role at DSU to include a graduate class in population biology offered during the intervening years. And in 2014, he began teaching the dendrology class. From time to time, Michael is asked to serve on graduate student thesis committees, the last two were directly involved with urban and community forestry. Dover’s Wesley College also hired Michael as an adjunct in 2016 to teach a newly-offered population biology class.
Michael lives in Dover and is the father of four boys, all graduates of Dover High School and all of whom attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He and his family have been involved in numerous tree planting projects over the years that included dozens of acres of land and thousands of tree seedlings (mostly hardwoods). Tree care and forest conservation are his priorities and he never misses a chance to spread the forest conservation message to the public when given the chance.