Las Plumas grad a pioneer in her field


OROVILLE – Las Plumas High School class of 1972 graduate Michelle Stevens is being 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 Queen of Jobs daughters, DeMolay Sweetheart, and working in the Butte County Summer Youth Program. Stevens was a speaker at her graduation, a Girls State Representative, and named to Who’s Who Among American Seniors.

She received numerous awards including State of California and California Scholastic Federation scholarships to the University of 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 of Oroville Community Achievement Top Ten Award. She also received LPHS Music Award, Band and Outstanding Musician, Northern California Honor Band and All State Honor Band.


Following graduation, Stevens attended the University of Pacific. After taking a class in ‘Environments of California”, and an internship writing and editing at the Sierra Club Bulletin in San Francisco, she transferred to Humboldt State in 1974. She received a Special Major Bachelor’s degree in environmental journalism, a combined of journalism and botany in 1979. Stevens conducted her masters research at the Aldo Leopold Reserve in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and was awarded a Leopold Award Fellowship with a summer stipend in 1981 and 1982. She earned her masters degree in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin in 1983.

After graduate school, Stevens worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Boise, Idaho where she initiated a wetlands/water quality program. A pioneer in her field, she helped field test the wetlands delineation manual, develop scientific protocols for wetland restoration and mitigation, created wetland education programs and is still involved in the Wonder of Wetlands project for middle school children. From 1987 till the end of 1991, Stevens served as a Senior Environmental Scientist in the Wetlands Section of the Washington State Department of Ecology in Olympia, Washington. She went on to enroll in the Ecology Group at UC Davis, was awarded a Switzer Fellowship and earned her doctorate in 1999.

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

Stevens has been widely published, authoring over 23 publications. She has also received numerous honors and awards starting 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 Environmental Council of Sacramento named her Environmentalist of the Year in 2021.

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

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



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