Before I started college, I had my heart set on becoming a fisheries biologist. I wanted to work with fish and have an office on the water. But on the advice of my parents, I kept exploring other options and discovered forestry. A family friend owns a timberland consulting business and I asked if I could talk to his forester to get an idea of what forestry was all about. After a short phone conversation, his forester decided the best way for me to get an understanding of the industry was to tag along with him for a day. I was skeptical at first but decided to go with him. As we rode to check on a logging crew he explained the basics of what he does and why he does it. I was given a crash course in land management and the tools and methods he uses on a day-to-day basis. He explained how forests were planted, thinned, and harvested in addition to how he collects the data needed to make informed decisions. We arrived at the property where the loggers were working and checked to make sure they were thinning the stand correctly. After we spoke with them, we checked on several other properties for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day he asked what I thought and I told him I had definitely enjoyed my day. He then asked if I wanted to come back the next day. I jumped at the opportunity and we spent the next day cruising timber. The following day he asked if I wanted to help their forest technician mark a thinning, and I again immediately said yes. I was very quickly falling in love with forestry. The idea of working outside was already appealing to me, but being able to work in the woods and help facilitate the growth of new forests was something I couldn’t resist. I was very surprised when I was asked if would want to work part time for them. I could not pass up the opportunity and have been working part time for them for the past couple of years. It was an easy decision to change me career path forestry and one that I have not regretted at all. I am now a senior at Warnell and I am going to graduate in the fall with a degree in Forestry. I am looking to pursue a career in land management and could not be more excited about it. It’s hard to believe that my career path completely changed all because I tagged along one day, but I couldn’t be any more grateful that it did.
Keep an Open Mind- Ryan Templeton