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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

Rick Lucas
Conservation District Forester
Osceola-Lake and
Mecosta Counties
Big Rapds

When I first interviewed for this job, I was told upfront that it may only be funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, which at the time had ten months remaining. Now, nearly nineteen years later, I'm still here and loving every minute of it.

I am a forester employed by the Osceola-Lake and Mecosta Conservation Districts. My position is funded by a grant administered through the Michigan Department of Agriculture to provide forestry assistance to private landowners, schools, townships, and urban communities within my service area.

My daily schedule can be set weeks in advance at times. A request for assistance can come as a result of a phone call, a visit to my office, by mail, attending a workshop, working a booth at an outdoor show, and more increasingly, via an e-mail inquiry. Some requests for assistance can be handled without leaving the office, while others will require my making an appointment to visit the property. Sometimes a site visit involves evaluating the needs of a single tree, yet other times it involves evaluating the needs of an entire forest.

The onsite visit to the property is my favorite part of the job. I don't know of a better "classroom" setting to teach natural resource management than to be standing on the very soil the landowner has to work with. A typical site evaluation involves establishing the landowner's goals and objectives for ownership; assessing the current conditions of the site; and prescribing activities and options to further enhance the site. Many times as a result of these site visits, referrals are made to other public and private sector service providers for implementation.

The job requires the individual to have a general knowledge of many fields of natural resource management beyond forestry. In addition, it requires keeping current on programs and polices of federal, state, and county agencies relative to resource planning, use, and management. In addition, the job requires the ability to communicate with people that range from elementary age children to seasoned legislators and every age group and occupation in between.

The job is very challenging, yet very rewarding.



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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 28 September, 2006