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Mail About Forestry Received for this WWW Site

Forestry Schools and Careers

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From: goring@io.org

Hi Duane,

I saw a post of yours in the Utne Cafe about forestry. I've finished my first year of Forestry at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay), and am going to go into the Tech (2 year) Program at a local college now.

I really like your web page, I'll need days to navigate around all the links, keep up the good work.

From: MaryBeth Broderick mbroderi@apollo.umenfa.maine.edu


I had fun looking around on your forestry pages and playing war of the minds.

I am going to graduate this coming December from UMaine and my studies have mostly focused on forest management and biology. I am interested in the science of forestry more than the industry of forestry, but I am leaving my options open to anything at this point. I may like to go to graduate school in the future, but I want to work first to find out what I may want to specialize in. The public relations and policy aspect of forestry interests me a bit and I do wonder where I may end up. Some forestry grads don't end up doing anything related to the field.

I am open to any advice and/or suggestions about where or how to find a job for this coming winter. I have basically just cruised around the Net a few times. So, that's my situation at present. I am working with other students (grad and undergrad) on a research project this summer. The work is easy, but the research is intense. We are surveying soils, all trees from saplings and larger, all dead wood, herbs, bugs, and birds. I am glad to be out in the field all day because it's fun. So, on that note I should head out and see what the day will be like today.

Mary Beth

From Duane:
As for a job, all I can tell you is that in my experience many foresters fresh out of school get their first practical field experience working with state forestry agencies. There are 50 states to try if you don't mind moving and its a good way to help determine exactly what you want to go in to or to find other job opportunities. Some people like it so much they spend their entire career with a state agency. However, that may not be for you since you indicate more interest in research than in applied forestry.

Reply from Mary Beth:
I haven't ruled out my option of getting into applied forestry. I sometimes feel that I have not had enough experience with it. I have learned a lot about management and the like, but I am a little nervous about what an employer will expect of me.

From Duane:
Don't worry about what an employer will expect of you. I worked for several years as an assistant District Forester for a state agency. I was the primary training officer for all new foresters hired for us by the state office. They were always fresh out of school and I trained about a dozen of them over several years. Some of those I trained are now some of my best friends in forestry.

I expected them to know most of their dendrology, how to use a d-tape, a biltmore, an increment borer and how to figure volumes. I expected to teach them the rest. Sometimes I also had to teach them some of the basics I mentioned. The new forester's job for eight hours a day for the first two or three months on the job was just to go with me, watch me do the job, listen to what I was teaching him and ask questions. As I could tell the parts of the job that he had learned I would let him begin doing certain jobs on his own while I observed. Afterwards I would give him suggestions for improvement. After the first three months I would only go with him when he was undertaking something new or when he had questions about how to do the job. Remember the training officer's job is to help you succeed.

This training is not like college. It's hands on in the field for 8 to 10 hours a day five days a week, and in fire season longer hours. So you do get a chance to learn.

I found your homepage and I like it. I noticed you have a space ready to reference the University of Kentucky's Department of Forestry. I am the webmaster of the new homepage for them. The URL is http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Forestry/forestry.html

Please visit it and link to it if you like.


Darryl Cremeans, Ph.D.       Data Systems Manager
Univ of KY Forestry Dept     121A T.P.Cooper Bldg.
Lexington, KY 40546-0073     fax 606-257-7605

Sender: Darryl Cremeans - dcremean@ca.uky.edu

Dear Duane,

My name is Don Barnes. I teach the second year courses in the new Forest and Wood Technology courses. The classes that I teach include Dendrology, Surveying, Harvesting, Silviculture, Forest Protection, Remote sensing, and Mensuration.

I received my B.S. in Forestry at University of Arkansas at Monticello and a M.S. in Forest Resourses From Oklahoma State University.

I have enjoyed reading your home page. I have recommended it to all of my students. The main reason that I am writing is that I would like to get your permission to reprint your sample timber cruise report for use in my Forest Mensuration class that I teach here at Lees Campus of Hazard Community College.

Sender: Don Barnes - drbarn1@service1.uky.edu

From Duane:
Thank you for the kind words and for recommending my web site. You are welcome to reprint my sample timber cruise report for use in your classes. I would appreciate it if you would leave on it all references to me as the source. I have some definite opinions about the quality of some forestry cruises which do not take into account quality classes in hardwoods or do not include statistical accuracy information or try to imply an accuracy to data which is not warranted by the cruise methods.

I would also appreciate any comments you might care to make about specific information available on my forestry pages or additional information which I might make available. As you probably know, these pages are referenced all over the WWW and are widely read. You are also welcome to contribute to the effort to any extent that you would like. I do edit and filter the information I make available to maintain the overall atmosphere of the site, but as you probably have seen there is an effort to present information contributed by a number of visitors. Present efforts are concentrated on the forestry mail pages and on further development of the "State of Forest Conservation in Kentucky" pages. You might also be interested in looking at the forestry questions on the "War of the Minds" contest if you haven't already done so.

From: Don Barnes


I would like to thank you for allowing me to use your sample timber cruise report in my Mensuration class. We all learnd a great deal from it and are using it as a guide when the students attempt to write up their reports.

I have also established a link to your page from the Lees College Campus of Hazard Community College Forest Technology web page.

Hi Mr. Bristow,

I am a forestry student taking classes at UK's Robinson Forestry Camp. Our Forest Mensuration class is learning how to write cruise reports. We are currently doing a critique on your sample cruise report for Mr. Smith and John Doe and Sons. We are of the first group of Forestry students who will graduate this spring since the forestry program started back up at Hazard comm. College. Students will have an Associate degree in applied forestry science. I'm really enjoying your web page, it has useful info I can use in my studies. Keep up the good work.

Bill Dutton
Leslie Co. KY.

Sender: Bill Dutton - bdutton@lci.org

I am currently a student at Central Michigan University. My major is Outdoor recreation with a minor in conservation. I am looking for employment in such areas for the summer of '98. Also I am looking for an internship for thirty weeks. I have been active in the outdoors since I was two, and this is how I chose my major. After graduating from CMU, I plan to go on and get a masters degree in either conservation or forestry. Currently I am a sophmore, and am looking to get my foot in the door anywhere. Please send me any information you feel would help me obtain my goals. My address is:
        Scott A. Losey
        710 W. Broomfield Apt.#30
        Mt. Pleasant, MI

Sender: Scott A. Losey - rlosey@aol.com

Under other forestry links, we would appreciate a link to Iowa DNR Forestry home page.

Sender: James Bulman - jbulman@max.state.ia.us


I would like to take the opportunity to thank you again for being a guest speaker for our mensuration class. The student response has been unanimously positive. I think that you showed the students that what they are learning in class is not just "pie in the sky" stuff, but what they actually need to know. It may help them focus in this time of the mid winter blues.

I would also like to thank you personally. Being a new instructor and having a new program, I was very pleased to find that the information that I am presenting is right in line with what you do. It gives me hope that I am doing the right thing.

I appreciate the charts. I may use them in class. I will keep in touch. If you hear of any jobs, please let me know so I can pass the information on. I will also try to maintain addresses and phone numbers after graduation so I can contact the students if you are able to take any jobs in this area as you mentioned.

Thanks again,

Don Barnes
Lees College Campus /HCC

From: Don Barnes


I'm a big fan of your forestry webpage. It has been of great help to me. My name is Tracey Edwards and I am a forestry student at Lake City Community College in Lake City Florida. I am getting started rather late. This is a major career change for me. I am a 37 year old widow with 2 kids, hoping for a better future. I want to settle near Clarkesville, GA. I am looking for a piece of land that I can buy by harvesting the timber on it. I have no savings or collateral to put up, so I feel my only chance is to borrow against the timber, then harvest and retire most of the debt. I know it's a longshot, espcially in No. Georgia. I will be sending resumes into the Habersham county area this year. I will graduate and hopefully move in the summer of '98. I would appreciate any advice or insight you could offer. I am a determined woman and if anyone can pull this off I can! I need all the friends I can get :-). I have seen very little on the net concerning forestry in Georgia, do you know of any links? Again, thanks for a great webpage!

From: Tracey Edwards


I'm 16 years old and am interested in forestry as a career. I've been around foresters before but I'm not exactly sure what they do. I'd like to know what the typical day of the forester is to know if it's the career for me. Will you please write me and tell me about forestry? I'm very curious, I know I want to live in the wilderness so I think this just might be the choice for me.

From: Holli Trimble

Reply from Duane:

Few foresters actually live in the wilderness. Most live at a district ranger station which is usually in a small town. Most foresters fresh out of forestry school begin their careers working for a public agency such as USFS or one of the state forestry agencies. Some work for forest industries.

Those foresters working for state agencies will spend quite a bit of their time working with the public in public relations and promoting forest management on privately owned forest lands. They will spend 50 to 75% of their time in the woods for their first few years. Foresters working for the USFS or forest industries will probably spend more time actually in the woods.

Day to day work for a field forester usually means days with decent (or indecent) weather are spent cruising and marking timber. Rainy days are spent in the office with computers and secretaries analysing field data collected and preparing reports and timber management plans. Some foresters also get involved in forest fire control or insect and disease surveys.

Don't get the idea that work in the woods means forest recreation like hiking, looking at wildlife, taking photos, etc. Timber cruising is physically strenuous because it is usually required that a compass line be followed through the woods and trees measured along that line. The terrain is sometimes nice and sometimes almost impossible in terms of swamps, cliffs, dense underbrush, heat, cold, insects, etc. It is usually enjoyable work though for them that like that kind of thing.

See also: Forest Measurements from a field forester's perspective.
The Practice of Forestry in the mountains of Kentucky.
A sample timber cruise report.

First, I would like to say that I have really enjoyed viewing your web page and I have found it extremely informative and helpful. I am a forestry student at the University of New Brunswick and I was wondering if you could help me get an idea how important computers are in the forestry field. Thank you very much for your help.

From: Stacey McDonald

Reply from Duane:
I'm glad you found our effort useful.

As for the importance of computers in forestry. I wrote a computer program I have used in doing all the calculations for Point Sampling and 100% cruises to calculate stand and stock tables and stumpage evalutions by species, dbh, log height and tree grade for hardwoods in 1978 or so. I tried to get both Ben Meadows and Forestry Suppliers to sell it but they didn't see much future in such a program at that time. A few years later I saw an ad for some type of forestry software in their catalogs, so I assumed by now most foresters were using computers. However, I worked with a forest technicians class from our state university last spring and neither the teacher of that class nor any of the students were familiar with any such software. They were very impressed when I described the program to them. (There is a description of that software on my web site, BTW).

I also wrote a program that I use to create maps and do error calculations and acreages and interior line calculations for meets and bounds surveys. I have been very dependent on both these programs for about twenty years now. I really do not know what others are doing. I am sure that most foresters in industry in softwood areas are surely using computers for volume calculations at least, although they should also be doing statistical data analysis, stand and stock tables, stumpage valuations and growth projections with computers. But I really don't know. I know that it is a little more complicated to do the same things for hardwoods due to the necessity to consider tree grades. Also because there has historically been no market in this area for sales of cordage and cubic foot volumes or tonnages my programs do not do those calculations. I may have to update them to do that though. The markets are changing.

Computers are, of course, very useful in the forestry profession also, I am sure, for more general uses such as word processing and bookkeeping.

I'll put your question and this answer on my forestry email page in hopes that some practicing foresters will give us an update as to how they are using computers in their jobs.

Dear Duane,

I received my bachelors degree in forestry from the University of Kentucky a few years ago. I have just completed my master of science in silviculture at the University of Montana, and would desperately like to return to Appalachia to practice forestry. The job search has not gone well however. Do you have any suggestions? Or know of anyone who is hiring foresters in the area? Your help would be greatly appreciated.


Hagan T. Wonn
532 S. 6th Street East
Missoula Montana 59801

From: Hagan T. Wonn

From: Ken Huller


I found your site on the web and am writing you because:
+ I will be moving my family to the Lexington Area this coming year (my wife is from Owingsville)
+ I am interested in the Forestry (Master's) Program at the University of Kentucky
+ I am curious how a computer programmer has ties to Forestry.

I also have questions that I feel you could answer:
+ Is Forestry something I could make a decent living (healthcare for the family and such) in Kentucky?
+ Can my knowledge of computers and/or my knowledge of Woodworking be used in the service of Forestry?
I know I can make better money as programmer but I don't want to spend my day looking at a screen in corporate America. If you could program out in the woods, that would be better (I'm not interested in straight programming--intuitive user interface is an interest).

So I guess I'm asking can I spend my time in the woods and earn money? I'm looking at the KY economy issues: what industries are in demand and how do they fit into my own interests. Forestry was the very first thing I ever researched (I was around 9). I looked it up in the encyclopaedia. As a kid I would hike from mountain top to valley, to mountain top and look to the valley past the mountain in front of me and make that a goal for the next day.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Reply from Duane:
+ I am curious how a computer programmer has ties to Forestry.

A computer programmer doesn't have ties to forestry. A forester writes computer programs. I got a BSF at UGA in 1968. In forest mensuration class we were introduced to use of programmable calculators which had just come on the market in doing timber cruise calculations. In 1976 handheld programmable calculators from Texas Instruments were available at a price affordable by consumers. A calculator selling for about $250 could remember up to 8 arithmetic operations and up to 50 numbers and you could even get a tape printer attachment to print results. I used one of those to do timber cruise calculations as well as a few other things.

In 1977 Radio Shack sold the TRS-80 computer with a 64X16 b&w TV screen and 4k memory for $600. I programmed that for timber cruising, fire control statistics and budget management. A year later I presented a proposal to the director of the state Division of Forestry to spend $25,000 installing a computer system in each of the nine district offices and one in the state office. He didn't see how computers could be useful because, as he said, "$25,000 would pay half the cost of a fire plow." A year later I left state employment for personal reasons and found that a number of businesses would pay me to develop payroll, bookkeeping, and other computer systems. I began computer consulting in 1979 and each year since then did more computer consulting and less forestry consulting. Now I only do one or two woods jobs each year.

+ Is Forestry something I could make a decent living (healthcare for the family and such) in Kentucky?

There are entry level jobs available. I don't know present pay rates but they are not really high paying jobs. Government and big companies usually do provide health benefits.

+ Can my knowledge of computers and/or my knowledge of Woodworking be used in the service of Forestry? I know I can make better money as programmer but I don't want to spend my day looking at a screen in corporate America.

Although foresters do use computers to some extent now, most still feel like the guy did in 1978. I asked the current director of the Division of Forestry, an old friend, to let me put a web page on the Internet for the Kentucky Division of Forestry in 1995. He didn't see the point. He finally did get a web page in early 1998.

So I guess I'm asking can I spend my time in the woods and earn money?

Yes, if you don't expect to earn a whole lot of money.

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