Andy Beck with hen of the woods mushrooms, which he stumbled across while marking trees at the Yale Myers Forest.
Last summer, Andy joined the Apprentice Forester Internship Program, or the “Forest Crew,” at the school-owned Yale Myers Forest. We chatted with him about his experience and what it means to be a “Forester.”
What motivated you to join the forester apprenticeship program?
Forestry is not just a science it’s an art, so getting out into the field is critical to building expertise.You don’t get a sense for the art of it all until you’re out in the middle of a stand of trees. For that reason,spending as much time as possible in the Yale forests has been an important part of my time at F&ES. It’s a unique forest in that it’s been owned by Yale and operated by its academics for 100 years. It’s a place of academic instruction and research, while being a working forest. [A working forest means that trees are harvested for income.]
Forest Crew was an opportunity to try stuff out and get some real “boots on the ground” experience. I’ve worked with forested land in different ways, but I’ve never been fully responsible for managing it. That’s something Iaspire to in my career and this apprenticeship helped fill that gap. I had never used a chainsaw before. I had never marked a treefor harvest. The decision to cut down a tree leaves a lasting mark on the landscape. If I could come back in 150 years, the forest composition would be, in part, a function of the decisions that I made.