Aug 232005
Authors: Kristen Majors

If the common notion that job opportunities come with the right contacts is true, then forestry majors at CSU are on the right track.

The relationship created between the Colorado State Forest Service, which is headquartered at a new facility on CSU's Foothills Campus, and the forestry department may open up job opportunities for CSU graduates.

The Colorado State Forest Service, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, informally works in coalition with the CSU forestry program.

"Being the state forestry organization, you need to have a close relationship with the forestry students," said John Jahnke, recently named Colorado State Forester. "I believe we involve CSU students in intern programs and volunteer programs a fair amount. That's a relationship that's important to us."

Many students enrolled in the CSU forestry program will take over the duties of the Colorado State Forest Service in the future, but not before they are properly trained. The forestry program at CSU teaches students about forests and how they sustain themselves.

"I think the benefits (of the CSU forestry program) is that besides getting a degree, you also learn a discipline, a specific discipline," said forestry instructor Robert Coleman. "I think it's pretty well-rounded on top of being specific."

Coleman considers eco-geography and silviculture two of the most interesting classes forestry students participate in and explained that eco-geography is "the study of trees and their habitat," and silviculture is "the science or study of growing trees for sustainable growth, and managing forests to help keep a continuous supply of wood products."

Coleman also said fire science is a popular program in the College of Natural Resources. The students in the program study the behavior of forest fires and fuel management.

"A lot of (fire science students) work seasonally as firefighters when they're in college," Coleman said. "When they're out they get jobs as fire management officers for the United States Forest Service."

Coleman said many students with undergraduate degrees in forestry go on to work for the United State Forest Service or the Colorado State Forest Service. Some also work with private tree companies or major timber companies. Graduate students in forestry are often placed in higher management positions, and holding a doctorate in forestry would prepare a student for research for a university or private company.

Chris Skagen, a senior natural resources management major, is shooting for a management position in either environmental law or tropical rainforest management.

"CSU definitely has one of the most comprehensive natural resources education programs in the country," Skagen said. His favorite part of the program is "the professors and the community in general. We have nationally recognized professors."

Managing forest fire prevention and reducing wildfire hazards are included in the Colorado Forest Service's to-do list, but it is also their responsibility to assist with forest insect and disease problems, such as the current outbreak of mountain pine beetles in Colorado's forests.

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