What They Do
Foresters and forestry technicians (and range managers) perform the demanding work of managing and investigating the wilderness. They research in the field to plan and manage the recreational and economic use of public lands.
Most permanent, full-time forestry positions require a four-year degree in forestry or an equivalent discipline. Some forestry technician positions require only an associate degree and some relevant experience. Even so, these are considered entry level, developmental positions.
Prospective forest rangers should take courses in any or all of the following: forestry, agriculture, range conservation/wildlife, watershed management, soil science, outdoor recreation management, civil or forest engineering and wildland fire science.
While some foresters end up in specialized positions, most are generalists, doing whatever the day requires. Duties not only vary from forest to forest, but also from season to season. After all, arboreal tundra in roadless Alaska and open desert a few miles from metropolitan Phoenix both lie within national forests.
The Society of American Foresters (SAF) has accredited 50 four-year programs in colleges across the United States, ranging in tone and location from Alabama A&M to Yale. The SAF also certifies individual foresters who meet their requirements.
Article Written By Tony Padegimas
Tony Padegimas is a freelance writer based in Phoenix. His articles on outdoor pursuits, general fitness, sports, theater, the inside guts of buildings, and many other random topics have appeared in numerous local and national magazines. He is the author of Day and Overnight Hikes - Tonto National Forest, published by Menasha Ridge Press.