Forestry Summer Camp, Thoroughly Practical


For forestry students, the woods aren’t just a place for long, reflective strolls. They’re also where students kindle new friendships, apply classroom knowledge, and gain appreciation for valuable natural resources.

Purdue Forestry Camp in 1940

Purdue Forestry Camp in 1940

Since 1929, a summer field practicum affectionately known as “summer camp” has been an essential component of Purdue’s forestry and natural resources program. Developed in response to industry criticism that 1920s graduates “lack practical knowledge of forestry,” summer camp added real-world rigors to the curriculum.

It was a game-changer.

All freshmen were required to attend an eight-week summer forestry camp at Henryville, Indiana, starting in 1929. Today, students attend camp in Iron River, Michigan, the summer after sophomore year.

Although many schools are shutting down residential practicums, Purdue’s summer camp isn’t going anywhere. It’s too valuable for students. “They’re introduced to the equipment and techniques used in the field and build relationships with classmates,” says Courtney Mycroft, natural resources lab coordinator. “Students can hone their skills and determine if working outside is something they really want to do.”

 — by Hannah Tucker (Purdue ’18)


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