FESers at the 2019 SAF National Convention!
For three years I worked at the American Forest & Paper Association in Washington, DC. During my time there, I learned a lot about the US Forest Products Industry and the unique role that companies play in influencing and engaging in federal policies related to forestry. As I transitioned to FES, I wanted to keep my connection to forestry and requested to have Professor Ben Cashore serve as my MEM faculty advisor. During my work, I had seen numerous articles by him on forest certification issues and was excited to maintain my forestry connection. When I got to school, I started working as a research assistant (RA) in his Governance, Environment and Markets lab. Working as an RA I learned about coffee certification practices in Brazil, Indonesian government officials’ perception of forest governance policies, and now I’m conducting interviews in Louisville, KY! The project I’m researching requires interviewing folks in the US forestry sector, and what better place then the 2019 Society of American Foresters National Convention in Louisville. A year and a half ago, I would have never thought my decision to request Ben as an advisor would have sent me to Kentucky, land of bluegrass music and bourbon.
Over the last few days, I interviewed numerous folks working in all aspects of forestry at the public and private level. And in between interviews, I heard lectures on how the forest products industry is playing a role in pushing for circular economy)! On the last day of the conference, the FES crew got together to celebrate our very own Tevin Hamilton (MEM ‘21) receive the SAF Diversity Award.
As the conference wrapped up, a group of us visited the Parklands, one of the largest private-public parks in the United States run by FES alum Dan Jones. He gave us a 2 hour tour of the park and explained the mission, history, and expansive role they played in the local community. This was another amazing opportunity to see how FES alums have contributed to their local communities after graduation.
Visiting SAF and conducting research was an amazing educational and travel opportunity! I’m so grateful to have been part of the FES-SAF crew and now I can check Kentucky (and Mammoth Caves) off my travel list!