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FNR Field Report: Lauren Laux


Students from Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources took their classroom knowledge to the field for summer internships and paid positions across the country, gaining valuable experience, hands-on training and career guidance. The FNR Field Reports series will offer updates from those individuals as summer positions and experiences draw to a close.

Lauren Laux with a Biltmore stickSenior forestry and wildlife double major Lauren Laux was a forestry intern for the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, working at various Purdue research properties with farm manager Brian Beheler and forester Don Carlson.

“The duties of my internship varied depending on what needed to be done at different locations,” Laux explained. “For example, one week we planted tree seedlings in a clearcut and another week, we worked with herbicide and brush saws against invasive species. I learned many different things including how to drive a small tractor and use a bush hog, how to seed drill a field, how to crop tree release an area, how to use a chainsaw, how to plant tree seedlings with a planting bar, etc.

“I was able to apply some of my studies on getting data for an inventory plot, such as a tree’s DBH (diameter at breast height) and species, while using a Biltmore stick and identifying the tree species, and also selecting trees to thin for TSI (tree stand improvement) and identifying invasive species in the field.”

Laux shared her knowledge about using a Biltmore stick at the Wednesdays in the Wild event at Stephens Forest.

In spite of the heat and humidity and fight to stay hydrated each day, Laux said the internship taught her about many different aspects of natural resources. 

“My favorite parts of the job were cutting down trees with a chainsaw for thinning or crop tree release, doing a few inventory plots in some forested areas, and also planting tree seedlings with a tree planter machine for a day and seeing a veneer sawmill.” Laux shared. “Even though it was a bit intimidating at first, it got better later. The use of goats as a management tool also was really interesting and it was amazing to see the results of their work."

Some of the sights from Lauren Laux's summer internship with FNR: an owl, logging machinery, a moth, a tree canopy, the pond and dock at Purdue Wildlife Area and goats used to remove invasive species. Some of the sights from Lauren Laux's summer internship with FNR: an owl, logging machinery, a moth, a tree canopy, the pond and dock at Purdue Wildlife Area and goats used to remove invasive species.

A map of the FNR research properties in IndianaLaux traveled across the state to various FNR properties for work, including Cunningham Forest, Darlington Woods, Davis Purdue Ag Center, the Doak property, Herrmann Reserve, Miller Woodlands, Nelson-Stokes-Lewman Woodland, Pinney Purdue Ag Center, the Southeastern Indiana Purdue Ag Center (SEPAC), the Southern Indiana Purdue Ag Center (SIPAC) and Stephens Forest. FNR also worked on local properties such as Lugar Farm, Martell Forest, McCormick Woods, the Purdue Wildlife Area and Stewart Woods.

Overall, the West Lafayette, Ind., native’s takeaways from her summer working in FNR were positive and have her looking forward to a career working in natural resources.

“I was never bored, and each day was a new experience,” Laux said. “It was interesting and rewarding to learn from the people in the field. It solidified my career goals because I plan to work with forest/habitat management in the near future.”

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