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Author Topic: Can I get a career in Forestry?  (Read 2986 times)

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Offline davidv

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Can I get a career in Forestry?
« on: January 30, 2012, 10:49:59 AM »
I just joined the forum and would like to know whether I will waste my time getting a degree in forestry. I'm 17 so I have enough time to choose. The only college that offers a forestry program around here is MU, which is a little more expensive than I would have liked. Lately I have been seriously considering joining the National Guard. Any advice would be helpful.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 11:02:31 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
Good on you to ask the questions.

How did you come to be interested in Forestry?
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline JD350Cmark

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 11:04:47 AM »
David,

Welcome.  I am not able to provide much useful info to your question but I just typed 'forestry career' into the search located on the tool bar above and got back what might amount to many hours of good reading on this subject.  Hope this helps and keeps you busy for awhile.
2004 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG25

Offline Texas Ranger

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 11:08:41 AM »
As a graduate of Mizzou, I feel compelled  to respond.  Yes, you can get a job, starting out at low pay, about a teachers level, and work a career in nature.  If that is your interest, go for it.  Right now jobs are on low ebb, as are all, it seems.  You will probably end up starting out in government or industry, get your experience there, and move to where you want to be. Missouri has very little room from consultants, the state preempts the field.

I graduated in 1962, and have loved my work.  Still consulting.
The Ranger, home of Texas Forestry

Offline davidv

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 11:16:17 AM »
Well, I've always had some interest in trees. My dad was a logger when I was real young living in Houston, MO. I've been operating our Husky since I was 13. I'm a woodworker, I especially like building archery bows. I got a book called "Trees of Missouri" by Don Kurz and now I can ID most of our native trees pretty easily (and I know the Latin names). Forestry just seems like a natural choice for me. I'm not afraid of doing work and I don't care much about salary (I would like to be able to pay for some of my hobbies though).


Offline clif

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 01:02:53 PM »
Hi David! Welcome to the forum. I had many of the feeling that you expressed in your first post, even archery and I went on to get a degree in Wood Technology at Colorado State University.  I will write a longer post here this evening on how things progressed.  Clif
Mighty Myte Mark IV Band Saw Mill .  " Don't let the past hold you back"

Offline davidv

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Re: Can dis yooper get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 06:40:46 PM »
P.S. My profile picture is a walnut log my dad cut earlier dis year, we finally cut up Da trunk for firewood yesterday. dis may seem like a waste of a good walnut but over half was sapwood from being on Da bank of a pond.

Hahaha! dis yooper thought the site was hacked for a minute. Thanks for da laugh.

Offline WDH

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 10:15:25 PM »
David,

Things have changed a lot in Forestry.  The last 10 - 12 years have been turbulent with much change.  Then, the economic collapse of home building and construction decimated Forest Industry.

That said, the world needs forests and wood and water and birds and bees, etc.  So, things run in a big cycle.  I bet that by the time you go to college and graduate with a Forestry degree, things will be different and on the upswing.  Timing is everything.  I say go for it.  I made a fine career doing it.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline woodtroll

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 11:30:24 PM »
I do not regret it.
Salary is important you have to pay the bills, And if you pick the right jobs and keep the right attitude it pays of in job satisfaction. I have a dream job.
The forest service offers a "Step Program"  i belive they pay for tuition and then you work for them. And they need foresters with logging roots.
Good luck.


Offline davidv

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 06:36:51 PM »
Well, I mentioned the salary thing because I didn't want someone telling me that I wouldn't get paid more than a teacher. My mom is a teacher and we're doing fine so far.

Offline clif

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 01:35:41 AM »
Well, so much for the best laid plans: I got a call to go pick up a roadkill moose last night @ 8:00 , (usually a one hour project at most) and did not get home until 11:00.  After 2 years at Ohio State taking preforestry and animal science trying to decide what I wanted to pursue I decided on forestry and headed to CSU since OSU did not have a degree in forestry.  My reasoning was that I wanted to be out in the woods which I loved.  My adviser at Colorado convinced me that in a few short years I would probably be behind a desk and not in the woods, so I decided on wood technology with a minor in business.  Looking back, although college was a great experience,  the best thing I got out of it was how to solve problems and where to look for solutions.  After graduation I sent 60 some resumes  to archery companies and 20 some to wood products companies.  I got one reply from an archery company (hand written) saying that he would like to hire, but since it was just him and his wife that they would not be able but thanks for the inquiry.  Three replies from wood products companies and I went to work for Engineered Products div of US Plywood in San Leandro, Ca .  That lasted a couple years and I was fed up with politics of a big company.  I got into construction (which helped get me through college)  to which I am still in.  Several years ago I decided to build log homes and started to look for a sawmill, found this forum and become interested in timber frames got lots of great advice here (on sawmills and TF) what a wealth of knowledge  and really great people there is on this forum.  I only wish I had " found" TF.. ing years ago when I was younger; however, I have finally got a foundation in for an addition on my house for a timber frame living room 18X28 and I am about to cut my timbers out.  The challenge of design and wood workmanship that goes into a TF has me excited.  Probably a lot more than what you wanted to hear, but you might want to take a look at TF...ing :  Hand tools to start are not that expensive, hands on  classes are not that expensive.  Others with more experience with TF..ing might jump in here and tell how they got started.  Good luck in your search take your time and keep an open mind and see where your search takes you.     Clif
Mighty Myte Mark IV Band Saw Mill .  " Don't let the past hold you back"

Offline davidv

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 10:38:32 AM »
Thank you clif, I can never hear too much. This may be a stupid question but hat is TF, I'm new to this.

Offline RynSmith

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 11:26:00 AM »
Timber frame/framing.  ;)

Offline davidv

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 08:07:36 PM »
I knew that! (right after you told me) ;)

Offline locustoak

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 09:50:25 PM »
I'm not a forester, but I hope I can give some useful advice.
I was in your shoes before I went to college.  I worked at a sawmill for a couple years and absolutely loved working with the logs and lumber.  My parents owned some woods, so I would always try to identify trees as I walked through the woods, and I even did timber stand improvement for them.  I really wanted to be a forester.
Then when it came time to apply to college I saw how much forester's made, and decided I wanted to make more than that.  Eventually I decided on Environmental science, partly due to the better pay and future demand for this position and partly due to having a little bit of back problems.  It should still get me outside every now and then, and "should" pay better.  I decided my plan would be (and still is) to get a job with my degree, and then buy a decent sized woodlot.  This way I can still be a "weekend forester" on my own property, and enjoy my love of trees and being in the woods.  Yet at the same time, hopefully bringing home a better paycheck.
I'm in my senior year now, so I haven't had a chance to get in the real world and see if I actually will be making more than a forester, but I'll find out soon enough.

Having said all that, I would say if you love forestry, go for it! The smart people say its not about the money you make, its about doing what you love.  And yes, I would also do something with the military if I was you.  I wish I would have signed up with the military when I first went to school that way some or all of my tuition would have been covered, and I would have a chance to see parts of the world, learn responsibility and discipline, and serve my country.  I would atleast talk to some recruiters and see what options you have if you enlist. (Seems like most people here are in the Air Force ROTC). Maybe you will like what they have to offer?

Offline BrandonTN

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 08:36:19 PM »
Welcome to the board davidv,

I was asking similar questions about 5 years ago when I was deciding on which career path to follow. My love of being in nature lured me to forestry, and I eventually followed that. There are different areas within forestry you can focus on (economics, GIS, engineering, forest management, forest product processing, logistics, social/policy)...forestry is an industry, and there's really a lot of wiggle room within forestry. Universities offer varying forestry concentrations, such as the ones I jsut mentioned....the concentrations can be vastly different.
I went back to school and got a bachelor's in forest management and find myself now doing a masters in forest ecology. I was more interested in working in the field and managing forests via measurement and using silviculture. But if you're more into engineering or economics, for example, you would not work much in the forest, I would guess.
I still haven't worked as a forester yet, but I've worked in the woods as a technician for a few summers with the Forest Service and have seen enough of the forester's work environment (in the office and out) to know generally what it's like, and I can say I like what I have seen. It seems to be a nice combination of working with people and working using technical skill in the forest without people (ha!). But most importantly you get to manage the forest in a way that benefits people now and future generations...that ever-present balance!

And no, the pay is not high-roller, but it's certainly not low. (You said your mother is a teacher, and y'all are comfortable, there ya go!) At this point, I got the idea the joy of the work will be worth more than a 6 figure salary for doing work less rewarding. Also forestry people I've worked with have been the best co-workers I've ever had...I think it has to do with working close to nature, it helps people see past their differences, I think. (I mean c'mon, there's a reasonn people spend time in the woods on vacation ;) )

There's also the issue of location...you may have to relocate for the first job, but you have to do that for pretty much any career these days.

If you're drawn to it, go for it! Worst case scenario, you got a bachelor's degree in forestry. That will still open other career doors.

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."- Ralph Emerson

Offline wesdor

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2012, 08:15:32 PM »
Lots of good advice already and I have just one small thought to add. 
A quote from John Lennon:  "when I was 5 the teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I told her  happy.  She said I didn't understand life."

The biggest idea to guide you is to follow your dreams.  Sounds like you are headed in the right direction. If you haven't already viewed it, check out Steve Jobs Commencement Address to Stanford university

Good luck

Offline dgolon

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2012, 11:44:51 PM »
David,

I am a college student now pursuing a degree in Urban Forestry and will be graduating in May. There a many jobs here in the north east for both foresters and arborists. Take a look at the stockbridge school at UMass. www.umass.edu/stockbridge That is a two year arboriculture program. UMass has a four year Forestry program as-well. Urban forestry is the way of the future and you can earn a great living working in the field everyday.

Hope this helps,

Dave

Offline countryboy1

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Re: Can I get a career in Forestry?
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2012, 08:51:11 AM »
Keep the grades up.  Enroll in a local branch of a state univerity and explore your options.  Lots of required coursework before you even get to the good course work.  Your plans or interests may change so keep options open. 

I went to a local college, transferred to OSU with plans in agriculture.  Spent the next 30 years teaching and farming at night, but brother and I paid for college doing TSI (timber stand improvement on 1000's of Ohio woodlands.

Oure woodlands are part of what we did/do back then.  Follow your dreams, but may be some detours.


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