Monday, May 9, 2022

A Q&A with Phillip Elden | Conservation Careers: Forestry

Phillip Elden

Forestry is a major component of wildlife and land conservation, says Phillip Elden. And with more than 30,000 people employed by the USDA Forest Service, it’s also an in-demand career. 
Q: What is a forester? 
Phillip Elden: A forester is a person that spends his or her career working outdoors in an effort to conserve and improve woodland areas. They may also work in the lab or classroom researching and teaching the next generation of conservationists. 

Q: What types duties do foresters have? 
Phillip Elden: Making improvements to the land means lots of time hiking, taking photographs, tracking flora and fauna populations, and helping make policies that protect our natural resources. For example, a forester might notice an alteration of the habitat choices of squirrels or deer at a local park. They would investigate the cause of the problem and enact rules to prevent humans from activities that would change the animal’s natural choices. If the problem is leaving food out in a specific area, the forester might prohibit picnicking in that park. 
Q: Do forestry professionals assist with fire suppression efforts? 
Phillip Elden: Absolutely. In fact, these are perhaps the most visible persons in the industry. If you’ve ever seen a park ranger (or an image of Smokey the Bear) then you have seen a forestry professional. These and many other workers create and enforce rules that keep the forests safe from fires.  
Q: How much does a forester make? 
Phillip Elden: Like all career choices, the pay varies greatly from state to state. It is also dependent upon other factors, including if they work in the private or public sectors, experience level, and specific expertise. In Oregon, the average forester brings in around $60,000 annually.