Alumni Details

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Russell Russ

Russell Russ

Forestry intern, Forester (1984-1987, 2001 - present)

My GMF summer crew experience took place during the summers of 1984 through part of 1987, but it actually began much earlier and lasted much longer.
As a child, I spent many hours in and around GMF both on my own and with my father, Darrell, either in the woods hunting or hiking or in his truck driving on the woods roads. I tagged along during the maple syrup season and spent many hours in the old sap houses. Too small to be a good sap collector, I would ride on the back of the sap truck or in the cab with Sam Hawley who always drove. There were many, many times when I’d watch as Ted Childs or my father took the weather readings. I knew GMF
was important, but didn’t really know why.
I was brought up on the old stories of GMF, the land and the people that had lived and worked there.
My interest and desire to go into the forestry profession began at and early age and was most certainly fueled by being around GMF.
While attending college I worked on the GMF summer crew. My father oversaw the work, but much of my
time was spent working under the direction of Sam Hawley and Jody Bronson. Having my father as my work boss took a little getting used to, but it never seemed to bother either one of us. My older brother, Rob, had also worked at GMF for a summer or two so it was nothing new to my father to have a son on the crew. Working with Sam was an experience. You definitely wanted to be on his good side, which was no easy task being the boss’s son. The work was hard, but well worth the effort.
With a desire to gain work experience in forestry and my already solidified belief in the unique importance of the place it made perfect sense to work on the summer crew. I gained valuable experience and was able to do it in my own backyard. Being on the summer crew gave me the hands-on
experience that went hand in hand with my forestry school education. I began to understand many of the reasons why GMF is so special.
My career veered away from forestry and GMF from 1987 to 2001, but as fate would have it, my path lead me back in 2001 when after a career change I was once again looking to gain experience in the world of forestry. It was as if I was a summer intern all over again, but this time at age 37. I was very fortunate to be allowed this opportunity and even more fortunate to have been able to become part of the full-time staff here at the forest and assist in bringing GMF into its second century.
My role now is part Darrell, part Sam and part Jody. I can share my experience with our new summer interns (as we call them now) and help them in much the same way that I was helped. GMF had been part of my life since early on and I have been able to make it part of my life now. I personally take great pride in the fact that I can follow in the footsteps of my predecessors to carry on the good work they had done here for so many years at what I now know is a unique and very important place. As a GMF staff forester I focus on the present and the future, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of the ones that came before me. Being able to do this with Jody makes it even better.

Russell Russ
Forester, Great Mountain Forest

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