Forestry Camp Summer 2014

Taylor Guynes     Forestry Major from the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management

Back row from left to right: Bobby Perkins, Lee Sandhop, Matthew Entrekin, Taylor Guynes, Nathan Fioenza Front Row left to right: J.J Aguilar, Maddie Montalbo, Kacy Renee, Paige Leal, Morgan Starr, Hollie Lynn, Zach Anthony, Sam Mitchell

Before attending the two week long forestry camp, I had heard from other students who had attended it previously that it was insightful as well as a lot of fun and once it was completed with I was very pleased with how true this statement was. From the beautiful scenery surrounding the Piney Woods Conservation Center located in the Angelina National Forest to the bustling timberlands owned by Plum Creek in Crossett, Arkansas, this trip provided all who attended a broad view of the forestry industry as well as the many diverse career paths a forestry student can pursue upon graduation.  

The first week of the camp was spent at the Piney Woods Conservation Center (PWCC) located in Broaddus, Texas within the Angelina National Forest. The time spent at the PWCC was extremely helpful for forestry majors because it provided hands on training for cruising timber as well as the instruments used for cruising timber.  Cruising 16, 1/15th acre plots was an excellent amount of training to prepare one to cruise timber and do forest inventories. Each day at the PWCC we were fed wonderful meals for breakfast and dinner. After breakfast we participated in activities that were planned for the day such as determining everyone’s number of paces in a chain, learning how to do variable and fixed radius plots, visiting a state of the art sawmill in Diboll, or having guest speakers come such as Forest Entomologist Dr. Melissa Fischer. As well as receiving excellent training in cruising timber, the forestry camp also provided students with the opportunity to see unique aspects of the forestry industry. One unique aspect we had the chance of seeing was the last virgin forest of Longleaf pine trees in the United States located in Boykin Springs, Texas. It is not often one gets the opportunity to visit a forest of Longleaf pines that has never been harvested for timber. This made the trip out to Boykin Springs memorable as well as educational. Another thing many forestry students rarely get to see is the Eucalyptus Plantation we visited in Nome, Texas. Thanks to Joe Pitcherelle, we were given an excellent tour of the Eucalyptus plantation owned by MeadeWestVaco. It was fascinating to see a Eucalyptus plantation and how it is managed because it is such a unique tree that grows rapidly and requires extensive and different management techniques that you wouldn’t use on other types of trees.

 After the first week we spent at the PWCC, we traveled to Louisiana to stay at Lake Chemin-A-Haut State Park for a few days. While we were at Lake Chemin-A-Haut State Park, the activities differed from what we did at the PWCC. When we were at the PWCC we focused more on learning about instruments and the basics of field work involved in forestry. While we were at Lake Chemin-A-Haut State Park, we focused more on touring places and getting an idea of the available careers for the forestry industry. This was very interesting because we visited a few places that appeared to be promising places to work and without visiting these places during the camp I would not have known about them. We were able to visit Plum Creek and get a tour around their timber operation as well as hear about their business plan. This really opened up my eyes as to the number of opportunities that are within out there for our field.  Like our time spent at the PWCC, we were also shown other unique aspects of the forestry industry such as the Crossett Experimental Forests and the Black Bayou Refuge. At the Crossett Experimental Forests we were shown an example of the uneven management style for harvesting timber. When visiting the Black Bayou Refuge in Louisiana we learned that there are many different non-traditional forestry job opportunities available for forestry graduates.

 In summary, the forestry camp is a very fun and knowledgeable experience that every forestry student should attend. The camp provides opportunities for professional networking, gaining field knowledge and putting into practice our practical application coursework knowledge. From a personal standpoint, I benefited from forestry camp by the honing of future professional goals, establishing professional contacts and establishing new friendships within the forestry department.

A special thanks goes out to:  Drs. Jason Vogel and Marian Eriksson

Thanks also to:

  • David & Jo Treadaway from the Piney Woods Conservation Center
  • Dr. Melissa Fischer of the Texas A&M Forest Service
  • Pat Petrenelli from the Diboll Mill
  • Todd Nightingale of the Texas Forest Service
  • Don Bragg of the U.S. Forest Service
  • Traci Rickman from Plum Creek
  • Chris Foster of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service