One essential and great component of the Warnell curriculum is a professional experience. It is a great chance to get out in the field and see what you can do with your degree, whether that be a Maymester or summer field course, or an internship experience. This summer, I got the chance to do both.
I realized in my first semester in Warnell I was either going to have to take a heavier load of classes during the school year or take a class over the summer. Luckily for me, Warnell offers a Maymester course about fish in the field. This course counts for the professional experience requirement and fulfills a needed class. It seemed too good not to take, so I did. I spent the next three weeks fishing everyday, whether it be seining, backpack or boat electro fishing, or using a rod and reel. We started out camping in the mountains, and learning about brightly colored stream fish in cold waters. We then stayed in Athens for the next week and ventured out everyday to go sample for local, warmwater species. For the last week, we go to the coast and were able to go into the marshes and beach to find marine species.
While we were on Maymester, I got a chance to also see what I would be doing for the summer. I was hired as a field technician for the Sturgeon lab, and from that I got a summer filled with new opportunities for learning skills that I would use for the rest of my life. I worked on a boat everyday, and got to do everything. I backed in trailers, drove the boats, set and pulled nets, mended nets, and was able to handle an endangered species. I was able to help monitor their population for recovery.
For some, the professional experience requirement is annoying and takes away from an easy summer. But for me, it was the most fun summer I have had. The summers that we get in college are limited, and while they may one of the last few times we get a “break” before we start a career, I urge you to make the most of them. There are so many options that Warnell offers, whether it’s through exciting Maymesters and summer classes or the job board that offers internships and jobs, taking these opportunities can tremendously help you get to know people in the field and acquire those skills needed for future jobs. They can also give you a chance to get away and experience something new for a while. You’ll never know until you get out there and try.
Hello my name is Knox Martin and I am writing to new students interested in getting “plugged” in to a variety of organizations across campus. Being a student associated with Warnell, I am grateful to be included in many smaller clubs and groups. The ambassador program is phenomenal and being a part of such a gifted group of well-minded students has excelled my leadership capabilities. That being said, I did not just wake up one morning and have positions handed to me. They were earned through dedication, determination, and persistence. If you are a student and interested in any kind of position with responsibility, I have a few tips for you.
First, be approachable. Although we all have bad days, try your best to put on a smile and generally be interested in what others have to say and think.
Second, be able to navigate conversations well. Learning how to communicate with others well will go very far with faculty, staff, peers, etc. Warnell especially has had a few problems in the past with students not being as great as communicating as students from other schools.
Third, put your best foot forward. Know your strengths and weaknesses and how to utilize your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses. People don’t have to know everything about you. Convey your best qualities and people will know you by them.
I hope this column helps a student looking to fulfill a role and or position in any part of life. Thank you for reading. Go Dawgs!
Students join the Warnell School for a variety of reasons, but I feel the main reason for joining is because they love the outdoors. These students want an opportunity to get a job in which they can be involved with something they love, the outdoors! I know this was the reason that I became a student here at Warnell. Outside is my second home. If I’m not hunting then I’m fishing, if I’m not fishing then I’m probably walking around in the woods, and if I’m not doing any of these things then I am probably working outside and loving every minute of it.
Coming into Warnell, I thought I knew a great deal about the natural world around me. I mean after all, I spent as much time there as I could, I have read countless books about it, and also I was 20 years old and should know everything about everything right? Boy was I wrong. Let me tell you something people, never in my life have I learned so much as in the past year and a half here at Warnell. The thing is though, what I have learned is not just knowledge that I can regurgitate, what I have learned has shaped the way that I view the outdoors. The place that I thought I knew so much about has taken on a completely different meaning to me now. After learning so much, I truly feel that before I was just wandering around aimlessly in the woods, not actually thinking about what was actually going on around me. Now, with every step I take in the woods, I am thinking about something new. I am asking myself; “Why is that tree growing there? What kind of food is available to wildlife in this area? Could you do a successful shelterwood cut and regeneration in this hardwood stand? I wonder what kind of soil class this is? Why are there more deer tracks in this area than that one?” Being a student in Warnell has completely changed my outlook on what I love the most, and I feel that I am a better student, outdoorsman, and person because of it. My challenge to everyone involved with the outdoors is to learn as much as you can about it. Maybe you will gain a new perspective and a new appreciation for it, just as I have.
As a nervous sophomore, I walked into the office of Warnell’s Career Service Coordinator, Ami Flowers, and prepared to drastically change my career plan. I was going from a Biology major with the lifelong dream of becoming a veterinarian to a Wildlife Science major with an unknown future. After discussing this plan, Ami mentioned to me that Warnell offered a dual program in which students could earn Wildlife degree as well as a Forestry degree with just one additional semester of classes. For someone who had just thrown every previous life plan out the window with no idea of what was to come, this sounded like a good deal to me. So, that day I went back to my house, logged onto Degreeworks, and became a dual Forestry and Wildlife Science student.
I didn’t know the first thing about forestry, and not much about wildlife science when I stepped into Warnell on my first day of classes. Amongst the confusion of navigating which buildings were 1 and 4, I made a few friends along the way; ones that would become my family. What I did expect from this school were late nights studying subjects I was unfamiliar with, but what I didn’t expect was to be welcomed into the most amazing familial atmosphere I have ever experienced. What I didn’t expect was to meet some of my best friends.
I believe that my decision to seek a dual degree has allowed me to foster these friendships with students and professors in both fields. This has been, by far, the coolest opportunity that I have had in my college career. In one day, I go from learning the basics of Forest Mensuration, calculator in hand, with Dr. Bullock, to laughing in Mammalogy as Dr. Castleberry makes his clever jokes about whatever mammals we are studying that day.
I see this especially on field trips taken outside of school. I recently attended the Mammalogy field trip with several other students. I remarked at how easily we all got along with each other. This summer, I attended Forestry Field Camp with around 30 other forestry students. The three weeks we spent together were full of long hours and hard work, but also of laughter and new friendships. From both of these trips, I have learned how great it is to have friends in both the forestry program and the wildlife program, the best of both worlds. It’s these moments that make Warnell home to me and why I will be forever grateful that I was convinced to do both.
This summer I participated in an internship called Research Experience for Undergraduates (R.E.U.). This is a program that is funded by the National Science Foundation that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research at a host institution. This program offers research in many different scientific fields at a number of different universities across the United States and even in a few foreign locations. The program has the most opportunities in the summer, but does offer some research experience during the spring and fall semesters. Most internships are for ten weeks and housing and a stipend are provided to students as compensation for conducting research.
I was at the college of William and Mary at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducting a genetic assessment on Atlantic Bay Scallops. It was a great opportunity to gain some knowledge on marine sciences. I also was interested in this program because I would like to attend graduate school. The research I did was very independent and gave me a glimpse as to what it takes to achieve a masters degree. VIMS is a graduate school, so everyday I was surrounded by students that talked with me about their experiences looking at and getting into graduate school.
Warnell provided me with field experience that I used when I went to collect samples of scallops along the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I also had previous experience working in a genetic lab, which probably helped me secure a position in this specific program. I had to write a paper at the end of the summer and present my work. I learned so much about how to represent my research and how to talk science to people.
The program also provided fun trips for the students. We went out on a research vessel to collect water samples along the York river. We also took a kayaking trip along the Pamunkey river and learned about the early history of the Chesapeake Bay. This program gave me so much more than I expected and I had an amazing time doing it. I made friends for life as well as connections in the marine science field. I was even nominated by the program to present my work at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography conference in Honolulu, HI in February 2017. I am so thankful I had this opportunity and I know that my time at Warnell helped get me there.
This year I am a senior. I plan on graduating in May of 2017 and reaching the end of my undergraduate career. Because of this, I have been reflecting a bit on my past three and a half years at the University of Georgia. I originally came to school doing what my parents wanted me to major in, finance (pronounced fah-nance), instead of what I wanted to do, forestry. I made the switch at the start of my freshman year and have no regrets. And that is what I have been thinking about, how I do not have regrets. I know a lot of people graduate with their undergraduate degree and say the wish they changed something they did so they would not be in the spot where they are now. I am fortunate and lucky to not be in one of those spots, and I think Warnell has helped put me in the place I am in today.
First and foremost, they offered me a degree worth getting. The BSFR in Forestry from Warnell encompasses forestry as whole and allows you to mold it into what you want it to be. With a comprehensive list of required courses, supplemented by a longer list of electives, you can take your degree in the direction you want. The professors that have taught me are some of the best in the world. I have learned everything from microfibril angles in the cell wall of the lumen of a tree to calculating discounted cash flows for timberland investment and how to code in programs like R in order to create growth and yield models. Few other degrees can offer such a breadth of classes.
I made friendships in Warnell that will most likely last a lifetime. Your classmates will be your future business associates, co-workers, possibly bosses. They say Warnell is like a family, and it can be, for better or worse. At the end of the day, I rather take two years of classes with the same group of twenty people than sit in a lecture hall next to a stranger everyday for two years.
Warnell gave me opportunities at school that many other colleges cannot offer. I have done outreach, been a club officer a few times, met with congressmen, gone to six states, and done countless other things because they made the opportunity available and I showed up. All you really have to do is show up in Warnell and you can be almost anything you want. Want to be the SGA Senator? Put your name on the ballot and win uncontested. Want to go to a conference? Split wood for five hours and go for free. The only person limiting you in Warnell is yourself.
And lastly, most importantly, Warnell gave me opportunities after school. I have accepted a position at the company I interned with when I graduate. Without Warnell, I would not have had that chance. So, I do not have any regrets worth considering from my college career. Is Warnell perfect? No, not at all. But I would be hard pressed to find a better place to get a degree.
My name is James Carr and I am currently in my senior year as a Forestry major at Warnell. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with The Westervelt Company out of their Atlantic Region office in Statesboro, Georgia. The Westervelt Company was founded in 1884 as The Prairie States Paper Corporation, producing grocery bags, paper, and paperboard packaging products. Today, Westervelt is a land resource organization that owns and manages roughly 500,000 acres of timberland and natural resources.
Approaching the end of the 2016 Fall semester, I learned about many companies and agencies that came to speak at Forestry Club meetings. After interviewing with Westervelt and receiving an offer for a summer position with them, I almost immediately decided to commit to them as a summer intern. Going into my internship that summer, I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience in the areas of wood flow and silviculture. From the start of this summer until the day I left the internship, I was able to achieve these goals and much more.
On my first day of work, I was trained on how to set up timber sales. The following two weeks was spent planning and performing timber cruises. Initially, I was told to set up cruise lines and plots by hand using techniques I learned in one of my first classes at Warnell. My summer Maymester course provided me with a good backbone of field experience for these cruises. I had opportunities to travel around Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, gaining experience in a variety of silvicultural and harvesting operations. Through many of these experiences, I was able to develop key skills in software programs that are frequently used in the forestry industry.
My main contribution to the company consisted of an infrastructure analysis of all roads, stream crossings, and gates on nearly 9,000 acres of new land acquisitions. One of the major objectives of this project was to update the company’s database and navigation system in ArcGIS. Using the collected data, I was able to perform a cost analysis for all repairs, replacements, or maintenance needs. I then developed a priority system used to organize these costs on a specific timeline. The data I collected and the methods of classification will continue to be utilized by the company in the future.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with The Westervelt Company this summer. I was able to develop a ton of skills that will benefit me as a forester in the future. None of this would have been possible without the preparation and encouragement provided by my school. I am thankful for the skills I have developed and knowledge I have gained from the great people I have met through Warnell.