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A Day In the Life of A Forester
A Sampling of Real Michigan Foresters and the Wide Diversity of Career Paths

     Many people seem to believe that forestry is just about harvesting timber, planting trees, and fighting fires. Of course, all those things are a part of forestry but there is so much more. Forestry is actually an incredibly diverse field with about as many options and possibilities as you can imagine. The entire process of growing forests, protecting forests, learning about forests, and making products from wood involves many biological, ecological, social, and economic sciences. It's an exciting career field that has evolved over time and continues to have exciting changes with new times. In grandpa's day (or great-grandpa!), forestry had a lot to do with riding a horse and finding timber to harvest. Today, we are facing high-tech designs, international markets, global warming, new materials, a regulatory environment, and host of other changes. Hopefully, the people below will help illustrate some of the wonderfully wide aspects of traditional and evolving forestry. Michigan has hundreds of foresters that work for many agencies, such as the federal government, state government, counties, cities, industries, as private consultants, non-profit organizations, and many others. The list is long! Take some time to explore a few of the many aspects that are part of professional forestry.  
     The Michigan foresters highlighted here have volunteered a brief sketch of their job, or a part of their job. They are all interested in sharing the exciting story about forestry. Keep in mind that each of these foresters have multiple dimensions to their careers, have other duties, and may have served in other forestry roles in their past. This list will grow as more foresters share a piece of their story. So, check back again to see what's new and who's who. Also, check the video info below.

Administrator Industry Forester-Procurement Sociologist  

Association Director

Industry Forester-"TIMO" Soil Scientist  
Arborist Industry Forester-Wood Broker State Forester  
Conservation District Forester 1 Industry Forester-Vice-President Supervisor-National Forest  
Conservation District Forester 2 Inventory Specialist Timber Buyer  
Consultant 1 Lobbyist Timber Sale Administrator-DNR  
Consultant 2 Logger Timber Sales Forester-Forest Service  
Ecologist Timber Sale Specialist-DNR Tree Farm Group Certifier  
Economist Stewardship Coordinator Unit Manager-DNR  
Entomologist (insects) Park Interpretor University Forest Manager  
Educator-Extension Mycologist (fungi) Urban Forester  
Field Forester-DNR Peace Corps Volunteer Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator  
Firefighter Planner Wildlife Biologist  
Geneticist Professor    
Hi-Tech Specialist Recreation Manager    
  Research Station Forester/Manager    

Michigan SAF has (had?) about 5 copies the “Foresters: Growing Forests for our Future” in VHS format or DVD. These are available for use by anyone who would like to tell the story about forestry and foresters. Georgia Peterson has (had?) videos and DVDs [].  The video, in two parts, may still be available on the National SAF website at [].  

The description of the video is as follows:

Video Growing Forests for Our Future (14 min.)
This energetic, dynamic, and entertaining video presents an inside view of a profession that has a significant impact on the nation’s natural resources:
A forester manages timber crops in conjunction with wildlife and watersheds s
Urban foresters address storm water flooding, water quality, and loss of wildlife habitat
Graduate students conduct DNA research to predict wood density
An educator works with children to illustrate the importance of forest management
Fire management professionals illustrate how fire can restore ecosystems
Forestry consultants work with landowners to better manage private lands
The video, designed for use with students (grades 6 and up) and adults, can be used to help promote forestry as a career and to inform policymakers, the media, and the public.

* 1999 Aurora Awards competition, ­Platinum Best of Show
* CINE 1999 Golden Eagle Award for film making excellence
* 1999 American Society of Association Executives­ Gold Circle Certificate Award Winner
* Award of Distinction­the Communicator Awards Program

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This website is maintained by Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension Forester in the Upper Peninsula.  Comments, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted. 
Last update of this page was 11 August, 2017