by Bailey Kozalla, editor-in-chief
Being raised in an outdoor-centric family, I quickly adopted an affinity for hunting and fishing. At eight years old, I ventured on my first hunt with my mom and dad. Ever since that day, I have been hooked on the sport. Ten years later, and having harvested twelve deer and four turkeys, I plan to develop my love for the outdoors into my dream career. I realize that the environment in which I take these magnificent creatures has given me so much that I decided I want to give back and dedicate my work to them. This is why I have decided to become a forester.
Working in the forestry industry basically means being a tree farmer. This type of agriculture entails working with private landowners to make their forested land healthy. After all, according to summitpost.org, they own over sixty percent of all land in the United States and over 84 percent in Pennsylvania.
There are different types of foresters with the first being service foresters. They work mostly for government agencies such as the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). Their main goal is to make the forested land in which they work the healthiest it can be, based on the landowner’s wants and needs. I had the opportunity to shadow a service forester this summer; Mark Lewis, who works at the Crawford County Conservation District for the DCNR.
The second type is a management forester. Working for the private sector, these foresters are mainly employed by paper mills and logging companies, or they have businesses of their own. They take their knowledge of forest and environmental science to harvest trees that are in high demand, but also take into account a variety of environmental factors as well. Self-employed foresters advertise their work so that they can be hired by private landowners wishing to sell a timber harvest.
I am interested in both types of forestry careers, and I can see a future in both. When I did more research on job opportunities, I decided to pursue a degree in environmental science. I narrowed my college decision between Pennsylvania State University and Allegheny College. Both have great reputations for the program, I eventually settled on Allegheny due to lower costs from scholarships I have received.
After years of searching for opportunities, I am so excited to be able to see a future in this career! I hope to fulfill my dream after earning my degree and serve the environment that has given me so much.