Degree: BS Forestry
Business Title: Staff Forester I
Business: Texas Forest Service (TFS)
City, State: Granbury, Texas
Web Address: http://txforestservice.tamu.edu/main/default.aspx
I began my career with the Texas Forest Service (TFS) as a Forest Inventory & Analysis (FIA) Forester in Lubbock, TX in 2003. In September of 2005 I took a second position with TFS as a Multi-Resource Forester in Granbury, TX at the Regional Fire Coordination Center. Granbury is located approximately 38 miles southwest of Fort Worth. I cover 10 counties in North Texas but respond to any calls from here out to Abilene.
As a Multi-Resource Forester I have some stewardship, oak wilt and urban forestry responsibilities. Oak wilt takes up the biggest part of my time as it is a disease that affects a lot of the live oak trees in Central Texas. Oak wilt is a fungal pathogen that clogs the water conducting vessels of a tree and eventually causes the tree to die. Stewardship is the next part of my job in which I work with landowners to write a management plan for their property including their objectives for the land. Urban forestry takes up a part of my time as I cover the metroplex (Dallas and Fort Worth). Amongst all of these duties I hold programs and presentations for homeowners’, cub scouts, school and community groups, and cities.
A typical work day for me includes going in to the office and checking any messages I have on the phone and email. Then I will either go to the field to look at trees for landowners or visit a stewardship site. If none of these are scheduled then I am probably working on a presentation for a group. The part I enjoy most about my job is working with all the different landowners. They all have a story to tell and you also get to see some beautiful countryside.
Along with my day to day responsibilities I was also able to help out during the 2005-2006 fire season in Texas. It was one of the worst in Texas history. During this time I worked as a public information officer and helped deal with the media. This was an interesting experience as we had not only local, but state, national, and international media calling about the fire season we were having. Public information is not for everyone but the Granbury office hosted the Incident Command Post and I had the opportunity to watch many of the different personnel responsible for a Type I incident. It is amazing how so many people from so many different places can work together for a common goal.
My advice for students is to take advantage of every opportunity you get to meet and work with professional foresters. Taking the forestry co-op position at NSWC Crane in Indiana was the best thing I could have done to help get experience in the forestry field. Get involved with the professional clubs in the department such as SAF, PSSA, TWS, etc. They do a lot of work that will give you experience in your specific areas of interest and you can meet professionals in the area you are studying. Also, I would advise you to get to know the professors in the department. You never know where they have contacts or job opportunities that will be coming up. Don’t ever give up on finding your dream job. Keep looking and asking the people around you for help. There are no dumb or stupid questions. Take advantage of the student services office and the resources they have for job searching. The websites listed on the department site are also a good place to look for job openings. I included the TFS website at the top of the page as well, they always have positions open. Well before you are going to graduate, begin looking for the types of positions that are open in different organizations.