What to Expect
Most forestry programs don't get into forestry-specific classes until about
the third year. Students spend the first couple years mastering the basic
"It's really important to get those basic skills down," advises Sara Kohan,
who took forestry at the University of Montana. She says the skills learned
in these early classes will be applied later. She also suggests memorizing
the basic trees and insects while hiking.
Lisa Verkely, who studied forestry, agrees that in the first year, a
lot of the classes are basic -- chemistry, biology, English and computers.
"They aren't specifically focused at forestry, but are important," she says.
She advises others to stick with it. "By your fourth year, you will be
living and breathing forestry, so it just blends into your life!" she says.
Verkely enjoys the fact that the professors in her program know the
students personally. Because the department is close, professors "are
more than happy to clear things up, and provide help any way they can," she
Aaron Lambie says a typical day in his forestry program included science
and math in the morning, with hands-on training in the afternoon. "We
[did] tree volume estimation, twig identification, market value of timber,
wildlife populations, etc.," he says.
Lambie was surprised by the amount of effort required to complete his work.
He had three to four hours of homework each day. He says students have
to be organized to keep on top of things.
Forestry- or nature-related volunteer work while in high school or college
may be an easy way to break into the business, says Lambie.