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Field Camp Fun – Kathleen Garcia

When I first came to UGA I had no idea what I wanted to major in, what kind of career I wanted, or what my life goals were. I came in as a chemistry major, and quickly realized that was the right track for me. My next pick was environmental chemistry; I knew I wanted to do something science-based and something that would allow me to work outside with the environment; but let’s be honest, the idea of organic chemistry terrified me! I was getting desperate, it seemed like everyone I knew had a plan and knew what they wanted to do with their life. I even went as far as to take a class that would help me choose a major. After going through a list a majors and doing the process of elimination I found forestry, it seemed like it would be fun, and fit my requirements: science based and I wouldn’t have to live my life in a cubicle. Well, it is so much more than that, forestry and Warnell have impacted my life in so many positive and great ways.

My favorite experience so far from my time in Warnell was the Forestry Maymester Field Camp. This experience was so great because not only did I get to learn about so many parts of the forestry industry, but I also got to bond with my fellow classmates. The Forestry Field Camp is a three week program where we learned about all of the different aspects of the forestry profession. The first week we got to visit different harvesting and mill operations across the Southeast, such as a Westervelt sawmill and pellet mill, a pulp and paper mill, and Kronospan, the leading manufacturer of wood panels. We also got to tag along with a third generation logger and see how to log different forest types and all of the different equipment.

The second week we learned about silviculture and management tools for different forest types in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  We also learned about different management tools such as thinnings, prescribed burns, and stock planting. The third week we worked out in the field each day. We traveled to the B. F. Grant Memorial Forest where we got to practice cruising tracks of timber and determining forest inventory. We got to work in planted pine, mixed hardwood, and regeneration plots.

I learned so much about forestry during field camp, but most importantly I had the opportunity to make lifelong bonds with my classmates. This was the first time that I had the chance to get to know some of my classmates since I began classes at Warnell. Some of my favorite memories include going to dinner at the original Dreamland, playing “My Cow” in the van, and arguing over who would be a secretary, and who would be the boss. When I look back at this experience I will never forget the van rides we took together, hurrying to finish our daily assignments so we could finally eat dinner, and staying up late telling each other stories and listening to music. When the end of field camp came and everyone was about to part ways for summer internships I was sad to everyone go, but I was so happy to look at all the people that I could now call my friends. Coming back to class this fall, I didn’t have the normal jitters about who I would sit next to in class or who I would pick to work with for group projects. This time I was excited, I could not wait for classes to start because I couldn’t wait to see my classmates, my friends.

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