The UCC Forestry Club, reinstated this year, is attracting a wide group of active club members and volunteers.
“We have a diverse thought process across the board. We’re not just a bunch of people wanting to go into forest harvest and things like that, but we have those natural resource students also. Those ideas are important to hear,” said first-year forestry major Travis Smith.
The UCC Forestry Club provides an opportunity to raise public support and awareness for Douglas County’s forestry employment opportunities and its natural resources. The club has operated to date without any funding, according to Forestry Club President Wade Christensen. Weekly meetings are held at Jackson Hall in Room 14 from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. Supporters can follow the club online by searching Facebook for “UCC Forestry Club.”
The first official project of the Forestry Club has been to repair the trails of the Lee O. Hunt Arboretum on campus. The trails were becoming increasingly muddy prior to the application of bark mulch to the arboretum’s trails. Along with bringing positive attention to the forestry program, members hope that the project will increase public awareness and usage of the arboretum above UCC’s Technology Center.
Forestry Club member and second-year forestry student Richard Powell was the project manager for the arboretum project. “My family has worked in forestry for a long time– specifically the logging. I wanted to go to school and get an education, and maybe kind of work up a little further from just being a logger into more of a management position in forestry,” said Powell. “When we started this club it was a good opportunity to network and get some more experience with other guys in the club.”
Forestry Club Vice President Ethan Harris views the Forestry Club not just as a learning opportunity, but he also sees it as a chance to teach others what he has already experienced within the workforce. Harris had carried out the duties of a timber cruiser, tree planter and other hands-on forestry labor for four years before entering UCC’s forestry program.
“I essentially had reached a peak in finances to where I couldn’t move up much more without some form of education. Forestry in its totality is a huge business, but as far as the number of forestry workers, it’s actually fairly small,” said Harris.
Smith also has years of experience working in the woods. He has fought fires, logged and worked in mills. Like Powell, Smith’s family has been involved in forestry for multiple generations. “The fondest memories that I have are with my parents in the woods. It’s a very important thing to me. So, I think this is a really great thing, especially the forestry program coming in, and UCC partnering with OSU to be able to transfer up there so we can do our prereqs here. We can save a little bit of money; we can save a little more time here at home,” explained Smith.
“Every timber company around here wants to grow a healthy forest, because they all use it. They all hike. They all hunt. They all fish. So they want the clean watersheds, and they also want to make profit. So the best way to do that is to find a good balance of conservation and business sense, and that’s what we’re here trying to learn,” said Forestry Club President Wade Christensen.