Intern, Forester (1992-2000)
I was asked to write a paragraph about my experience at Great Mountain Forest. I had some trouble trying to boil down my time in Norfolk and all that I learned into a short space. I started on the summer crew at Great Mountain Forest in 1992. I was fresh out of forestry school as I had just graduated from UMASS. My summer job morphed into eight years and I have tales that could fill a book. My experience over that first summer, and subsequent seasons, largely influenced my life as a forester. I got hands-on experience as a logger, sawmill operator, equipment operator, Christmas tree shearer/planter/harvester, firewood splitter, maple syrup maker, mechanic, woodworker, road grader, and the list goes on. I never knew what the day would bring; one day I was bush hogging a field, and ended up burying a horse with the tractor bucket. I think all those activities I took part in made me a better forester. Being a part of the whole process, from planning a harvest, to marking a tree, to cutting it down, skidding it to the landing, trucking the logs, to milling lumber out of it, splitting firewood out of it (either on the 4’ splitter or wood processor) was part of an education one cannot receive from any school. The beauty of working at GMF as a green seasonal person was that nothing was held back from us, we learned how to dig a ditch, run a chainsaw, operate equipment, etc and that is always the best way to learn. I made plenty of mistakes, and because of that, have plenty of stories to tell. After I was hired at my current job (Assistant Superintendent/Forester for White Memorial Foundation) I was told that the decision to hire me was partially based on what I had done and learned at GMF. A lot of the applicants had school training, but lacked more of the broad based practical experiences I had received. White Memorial is similar in part to GMF as to its diversity. There is lots of property, including forests and fields, buildings, equipment, roads and trails, to maintain and keep up. The practical, multi-faceted experience I had, including trouble shooting, problem solving and most importantly field expedience, translate well to my current job. A big part of the experience for me was the people I worked with and for. The crew got along well together, and it was more like a family than your usual work relations. Many times the end of the work day did not mean the end of your time with the employees/employers. I consider myself lucky to have been a member of the extended GMF family.
Assistant Superintendant/Forester, White Memorial Foundation