Business Title: Urban Forester
Business: Ohio Department of Natural Resources,
Division of Forestry
City, State: Findlay, Ohio
Web Address: http://ohiodnr.com/tabid/21325/Default.aspx
I graduated from Purdue in 1992 with a B.S. in Forestry (Urban Option) and am currently the Northwest Ohio Regional Urban Forester for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. I live in Findlay, Ohio with my husband Greg, two young sons Alex and Wyatt, and kitty cat BeBe. My job entails working one-on-one with communities in 19 counties providing technical and organizational assistance with their urban forest management. My clientele includes volunteer tree commissioners, mayors, community administrators/managers, and other government agencies. It is a constant learning experience keeping up with the newest technologies, plant health issues, and personalities. Working on the front lines of Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth has been an experience of a lifetime. This is the biggest opportunity since Dutch Elm Disease to bring urban forestry to the forefront of people's minds. It has brought an even greater since of responsibility to my job as I help communities cope with managing these pests.
Prior to transferring to the urban forestry position, I was a Service Forester for a 6 county area. It was invaluable experience allowing me to become familiar with the woodland management needs and challenges of NW Ohio.
For 5 years following graduation I worked for ACRT, Inc out of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio where I was a contract utility and urban forester. The urban forestry work was mostly inventory gathering for various cities. The days were long, but I got to see some great places and become familiar with the up and coming computerized inventory programs. Working as a utility forester was an excellent way to develop people skills and to learn the back roads. It was a difficult and stressful job, but I am grateful for the listening and negotiation techniques I developed during those years.
Some of my most memorable experiences were while I was still at Purdue. Both Dr. Harvey Holt and Dr. Bill Chaney took me under their wing and hired me to help them and their graduate students with their work. I got to do lots of really crummy grunt jobs, but was rewarded with the opportunity to help do research that is important to our industry. They were both also kind enough to introduce me to many people who I have had opportunities to work with since. Dr. Holt was instrumental in helping me find my first job out of college and I consider him my mentor to this day.
Since graduating from Purdue, I really appreciate the education and training I received. It was obvious my first year out of school that Purdue FNR is a cut above many other forestry curriculums in terms of computer skills, exploring multiple use management, and teaching its students how to make scientifically based forest management decisions. Some advice to forestry students: take some urban forestry classes. It makes you much more marketable. Advice to urban forestry students: know traditional forestry. We are the front lines to urban voters. I routinely have to answer questions about "why the forests are burning" or "why are they cutting down all the trees." I feel as a forester that it is my responsibility to be able to address these issues when they arise. Get involved in both ISA and SAF and wear your Purdue gear proud!
Forestry has been a wonderful profession for me. The people I have worked with over the years have been terrific. I have found that most folks in forestry are family-oriented and understand the importance of balancing work with family life.