Posts Tagged ‘forestry’

Scholarship Available for Natural Resources Studies

Here is a good opportunity for students looking to pursue a natural resource or horticulture field in college. Arborjet will be awarding up to ten $1000 awards. The deadline is coming up soon, so hurry if you’re interested.

Visit Arborjet’s website for more details. A summary is listed below:

 

Arborjet has established its Taking Root Scholarship Program to encourage and enable bright and promising young students to fulfill their dreams of entering careers in the arboriculture industry. photo of graduatesScholarships are offered for students looking to pursue full-time studies in Forestry, Plant Sciences, Horticulture, Entomology, Environmental Science or a related major at an accredited two- or four-year college or university of the student’s choice.

 

This scholarship program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin.

Postmark Deadline: June 30, 2017

Program Guidelines

photo of graduates

Eligibility

Applicants to the Arborjet Taking Root Scholarship Program must –

  • Be citizens or legal residents of the United States.
  • Be high school seniors.
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited two-year or four-year college or university for the entire 2017-18 academic year.
  • Plan to pursue a forestry course of study or related major (e.g., Forestry, Plant Sciences, Horticulture, Entomology, Environmental Science or other related major).

Awards

If selected as a recipient, the student will receive a $1,000 award. Up to ten (10) awards will be granted. Awards are not renewable.

Awards are for undergraduate study only.

Application

Interested students must complete the application and mail it along with a current, complete transcript of grades to Scholarship America postmarked no later than June 30, 2017. Grade reports are not acceptable. Online transcripts must display student name, school name, grade and credit hours earned for each course, and term in which each course was taken. Applicants will receive email acknowledgment of receipt of their application. If an acknowledgment email is not received within three weeks, applicants may contact Scholarship America to verify that the application has been received.

Applicants are responsible for gathering and submitting all necessary information. Applications are evaluated on the information supplied; therefore, answer all questions as completely as possible. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated. All information received is considered confidential and is reviewed only by Scholarship America.

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Do You Know These Sap-Suckers?

Spend any amount of time on a forestry website of any kind and you will probably run across names like adelgid, scale, and aphid. Yet how many people really know what they are and what they can do to your trees?

This article from Michigan State University Extension gives a break down of the differences between these sap-sucking insects.

Honeydew fluid comes from sap sucking insects

Honeydew is a sugar-laden fluid excreted by certain plant-sucking insects. When these populations build-up, sticky honeydew may drip on nearly everything outdoors.

Scales, adelgids, and aphids – oh my! A range of tiny insects use specialized mouthparts to pierce leaves, needles, or even bark on trees and other plants so they can feed by sucking-up the sap of the plant.

Several of these sap-feeding insects are very particular about which kind of tree they use for hosts. Sometimes insects carry the name of that host tree, such as the balsam woolly adelgid, beech scale, or pine needle scale.

Scales spend nearly all of their life cycle in one place, protected by the “shields” they secrete. Depending upon the species, the shield can be woolly, soft, or hard. These shields help protect the scales from weather, predators, and insecticide sprays. Scale insects are only mobile for a few days after they hatch, when they are called crawlers. As the name implies, crawlers have tiny legs and can move about on the tree.

Above: Scale and aphid on a honeylocust twig.

Crawlers are not protected by wax or wool and are, therefore, vulnerable to insecticides or sprays of horticultural oils and soaps. Once crawlers find a suitable location to feed, they insert their mouthparts into the tree and begin sucking sap. At that point, they molt. They become legless and remain attached to the tree for the rest of their life.

Magnolia scale populations blossomed in parts of southern Michigan and Wisconsin this year. In other areas, scale populations have grown large enough to draw many queries from homeowners. Lecanium scale (many species) that feed on maple, ash, and other trees have boomed in some parts of the state. Other common forest scales have colorful and descriptive names like the pine tortoise shell scale, oyster shell scale, and terrapin scale.

Soft scales, such as lecanium scale and magnolia scale, excrete lots of honeydew. Other scales don’t produce any honeydew. Some scales, such as beech scale (associated with beech bark disease), secrete a white waxy coating instead of honeydew.

Adelgids are similar, in some ways, to aphids, but they’re mostly immobile (like scales), have different life cycle details and body structures, and are associated with conifers. Adelgids insert long stylets into the host tree and feed on the sap during the entire stationary part of its life cycle. Spruce gall adelgids cause those horny growths, resembling cones, on spruce, particularly blue spruce.

The hemlock woolly adelgid is an exotic species that has devastated hemlock resources in eastern states. This pest is on Michigan’s “most unwanted” list. Observations of early infestations can often lead to successful eradication.

Aphids don’t produce a protective cover and are more familiar to gardeners, farmers, and horticulturists. Aphids can be important pests on the agricultural and horticultural crops. Young aspen have “herds” of aphids that are tended by ants. The ants feed on the honeydew and protect the aphids from predators. The woolly aphids can be particularly interesting because of their appearance. Some species will wave their “flags” of wool when disturbed.

Normally, scales, adelgids, and aphids don’t pose serious health threats to trees. Repeated, heavy infestation can reduce tree vigor and sometimes lead to declines. In some cases, these insects can allow pathogens entry to the tree, which can lead to a serious forest health issue.

More often than not, heavy infestations of these little sap-feeders cause problems for people. The last couple of years, in particular, have seen locally high numbers of scales and resulting sooty molds. This sticky, black material adheres to lawn furniture, house siding, cars, driveways, and most anything else kept under the canopy of scale-infested trees. These conditions are visually unattractive. Sooty mold can be removed by using a mild soap (about 3-4 ounces per gallon) in a sprayer. However, this does not eliminate the source of the problem, which is honeydew-producing insects and ubiquitous sooty mold.

Next year, the weather may be less favorable for these bugs.

Looking for Work? The Timber Industry is Looking for You!

Jobs in timbering, wood products go begging

Great Lakes Echo


Image: Michigan Farm Bureau

Capital News Service
LANSING — The woods are calling, and so are logging and wood products companies.

Calling for skilled employees, that is.

Experts say the labor shortage hampers economic growth.
Many experienced foresters and other workers in Northern Michigan are retiring. At the same time, jobs in other industries such as mining, energy and construction often pay higher wages than those at timber-related companies.

The demand is expected to continue as the state looks for new uses for forest resources, including products and energy, according to the Michigan Biomaterials Initiative.

More than 27,000 jobs are directly in the state’s forest products industry and more than 146,000 are supported by Michigan forests, according to Michigan State University Extension.

Brenda Owen, executive director of the Michigan Association of Timbermen, said many companies struggle to find workers, especially smaller businesses.

“Our members are keenly concerned about a tremendous lack of skilled labor, or even unskilled but trainable labor, for our timbering companies, our sawmills, our manufacturers,” she said.

Recently launched initiatives in the Western Upper Peninsula and the Onaway area are meant to provide some of that training.

Two major factors are lack of training and lack of knowledge about opportunities, Owen said. “Everybody thinks they’re going to carry chainsaws, but we have some pretty high-tech jobs available.” They include lumber graders at sawmills, equipment operators and forklift operators.

Employees are needed to run state-of-the-art computerized, mechanized equipment that’s operated with a joystick, like a video game.

Also in short supply: welders able to go into the woods to fix heavy equipment and drivers for logging trucks.

“We’re struggling to get viable employees in those positions,” Owen said, adding that the association wants to collaborate with Michigan Works! to provide on-the-ground training.

Ironically, the recent expansion of opportunities in other industries lures people away -from timbering-related jobs.

“There’s no way we can compete with construction,” said Brian Nelson, co-owner of Marvin Nelson Forest Products in Cornell, near Escanaba. “If you can operate a harvester, you can operate other heavy equipment.”

Nelson said his logging company competes for employees with two paper mills in the Escanaba area. Skilled workers at the mills earn at least 1½ times what he pays.

For Nelson’s company, the major labor shortages are cut-to-length harvester operators and truck drivers.

“We try everything, word of mouth, unemployment offices, Craigslist, newspaper ads, wherever we can find help,” he said, adding that well-qualified harvester operators are like free agents in baseball and football: in heavy demand and able to name their own price.

According to Owen, “a lot of quality employable” workers in the Gaylord area are signing on with oil and gas companies because of higher wages. And in the U.P., “there are pockets where skilled labor is going to the mining field because the mines pay more.”

The labor shortage does have a bright economic side for some workers willing to work more, she said. “These guys can get overtime — I have loggers paying 20 hours a week overtime.”

There are some recent initiatives underway to help close the labor gap.

Last year, Gogebic Community College in Ironwood started an associate degree program in forest technology to help fill industry needs.

“Private industry is looking for people to mark timber. The state has started hiring forestry technicians, and the county forests need people to mark timber,” said Bill Perkis, the head of the program. Starting pay is in the $18-$24-an-hour range.

“These are the nuts-and-bolts guys who walk in the woods and mark timber,” Perkis said. “There’s a real demand for these technicians.”

The curriculum includes courses in tree identification, forest ecology and health, wildlife habitat, use of global information systems for electronic mapping, forest management and forest soils.

Seven students enrolled in its first academic year, and about the same number this year, Perkis said, adding that the college plans to market the program beyond the U.P. and northern Wisconsin.

In the Northern Lower Peninsula, the Industrial Arts Institute opened its first 15-week training program in welding, graduating 16 students in mid-November. The next class starts Jan. 6.

All found jobs immediately, including one who received 11 job offers, according to Marilyn Moran, who handles public relations for the institute. It was created by Moran Iron Works, a manufacturing company in Onaway that makes large modular steel products, including wind turbine components and barges.

The four graduates hired by Moran Iron Works started at $14 an hour. Two hired in the Charlevoix area started at $20 an hour. One went to a $100-an-hour job in the oilfields of another state, she said.

The genesis for the institute was the difficulty the company encountered as it expanded from 50 employees four years ago to 130 now, Moran said. “We couldn’t hire people fast enough to meet our need,” including welders and fabricators.

Obstacles included applicants who couldn’t read a tape measure and who lacked a work ethic — “showing up on time, having the discipline to work hard, go home tired and come back to do it again the next day,” she said.

What Is ‘Good’ Habitat?

hemlock-beech-oak-pine forest_UNH

The term habitat gets thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean?  And what qualifies as “good habitat” versus “bad habitat?”

First, habitat is defined as:  The area or natural environment in which an organism or population normally lives.  A habitat is made up of non-living components such as soil, moisture, temperature and availability of light; as well as living components like food availability and presence of predators.

What makes one habitat more suitable than another depends on what the goals are for that habitat.  Economic targets (like in commercial forestry), preferred species for viewing or hunting, managing for threatened or endangered species, etc. will all have different traits deemed beneficial to the habitat.  In short, it depends a lot on what the individual managing the area ultimately wants.

The following article was written by Bill Cook, a Michigan State University Extension Forester.  More of his articles can be found on this page hosted by the Michigan Society of American Foresters.

 

What Is Good Habitat?

The term “wildlife habitat” conjures-up different meanings for different people.  Some of these meanings contradict each other.  Management practices that “improve” habitat will benefit some species but will also discriminate against others.

It’s usually a bit misleading to hear people mention that a management practice is “good” for wildlife, even though the notion has a warm fuzzy feeling.  Such statements offer an opportunity for education, or at least clarification.  Any practice is both good and bad, depending upon which species of wildlife are considered.  What people probably mean is that a management practice might be good for their favorite species.  Often, they don’t or aren’t aware of other species’ habitat needs.

Habitat, in an ecological sense, incorporates physical characteristics in the landscape within which a particular species can find basic life cycle requirements such as food, water, and cover (e.g. shelter, nesting, etc.).  There about as many sets of requirements as there are species.  Species can be animal or plant or other living organism.

Alternatively, when one gazes upon a forest or wetland, there is a sense of habitat quality that loosely incorporates the numerous physical characteristics of that particular landscape, or ownership.  One can imagine how well those characteristics might suit their particular favorite species.

If the habitat appears to satisfy the needs of those favorite species, the gazer deems the habitat “good”.  If the gazer discerns something lacking, then perhaps the habitat will be perceived as “bad”.  Humans tend to qualify the goodness of something by using personal preferences.  Sometimes, those preferences are even rooted in science-based knowledge.

Confusion can easily erupt with the complexity of species requirements and human perception.

In a certain sense, there is no such thing as “bad” habitat.  As an extreme example, even a parking lot has some attributes favorable for some species.  Take for instance; if you’re a gull, that parking lot has plenty of tidbits to glean from trash that have been left behind by unthinking shoppers.  If gulls were the only species of interest, might parking lots be considered critical habitat?

Ecologically, each vegetation type has a range of natural attributes.  A type with a full set of attributes would be considered high quality habitat.  A habitat progressively loses functionality with the absence or reduction of each natural attribute.  For example, a northern hardwood forest might be missing den trees, standing snags, or large dead trees on the ground.  That forest doesn’t possess the full range of attributes; therefore, it is not as high quality, in an ecological sense, as a similar forest that does have the full range.  However, it is still a bountiful resource.

Of course, management can alter the characteristics of a particular vegetation type or can create an altogether different type.  Management can restore lost habitat components.  A similar dynamic occurs with long-neglected forests.

The goals of a forest owner may not include all the natural attributes of a forest type.  Continuing with the northern hardwood example, an owner may wish to manage for maximum tree quality and monetary value.  In the process, those den trees, standing snags, and large dead-and-down trees may not have much importance to the owner.  The forest continues to possess most habitat attributes but the loss of some ecological richness will reduce the potential for wildlife species dependent upon den trees, snags, and old logs.  In this way, an owner may unintentionally lessen the aesthetic appeal of their woodland.

Similarly, folks will often evaluate habitat through the lens of a favorite wildlife species, such as white-tailed deer.  “Good” habitat is often gauged by seeing lots of deer.  “Bad” habitat doesn’t have many deer.  The habitat may have huge missing pieces and may not be sustainable, nevertheless it will be deemed good if deer can be easily seen while hunting.  Habitat quality extends beyond the last half of November.

Conversely, good deer habitat, from an ecological perspective, will likely be more diverse and may have more deer than what can be easily seen, even when a fair-sized deer population exists.  To the casual observer, if they ain’t easy to see it ain’t good.  Good deer habitat will provide enough cover so that deer aren’t so easily seen.

This same “lens viewing” idea might be applied to many other species and situations.  Endangered species management, such has Kirtland’s warbler, results in a more narrow-focused habitat perspective due to federal and state laws.  In some cases, this practice may be warranted and will yield net benefits over time and space.

The manner in which we manage, or don’t manage, forest habitats and larger landscapes often has more to do with what we want to see, what we think we see, and less about measures ecological function.  Sometimes, conflicts arise between forest users with different viewpoints.  Occasionally, those conflicts carry considerable political charge and significant economic consequence.

In the end, it might be helpful to remember that all habitat has value and all habitat will naturally change with time, assuming it’s not replaced by some other land use.  Obtaining professional wildlife management advice will help owners better understand some of the complexity and, hopefully, lead to more satisfying ownership benefits.

If You’re Looking for a Job in Forestry…

Jobs for Young Adults in the US Forest Service are Waiting

Posted by Keith Riggs, Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service, on January 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM

California Conservation Corps workers perform hazardous fuels thinning and are also building stream crossings, drainage structures and other trail stabilizing features to protect trails. The work also corrects existing and potential resource damage from erosion and sedimentation on existing trails.California Conservation Corps workers perform hazardous fuels thinning and are also building stream crossings, drainage structures and other trail stabilizing features to protect trails. The work also corrects existing and potential resource damage from erosion and sedimentation on existing trails.

The Obama Administration has announced the formation of a national council to guide full implementation of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps – a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth to work protecting, restoring, and enhancing America’s great outdoors.

Thousands of temporary seasonal jobs with the Forest Service and its partners are available this summer and officials say now is the time to begin the application process.

Annually, the Forest Service and its conservation partners hire over 3,000 people for summer positions that involve work such as reducing the impacts of climate change on the nation’s natural resources, empowering Native American communities, building trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, and improving and restoring cultural and historic landmarks.

In addition, the Forest Service supports thousands of opportunities with youth and conservation corps partners for young people to gain job training experience working on natural and cultural resource projects on public lands.

There are around 12,000 openings during the peak fire season months for those seeking temporary work in the fire and aviation management field. More about jobs in the Forest Service can be found online at http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/openings.shtml.

Through the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program some of this year’s employment opportunities will engage students in the creation of a new generation of clean, accessible great urban parks and community green spaces, a goal of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative — a plan to reconnect Americans to the forests and grasslands that sustain the nation.

Our national forests expend $5,000,000 annually to engage nearly 2,000 high school students on Youth Conservation Corps projects on forests in every region and  Public Land Corps projects that focus on range, forest, and watershed & air management resource areas.

Our participation in the Veterans Green Jobs initiative helps to put veterans on a career path with state and federal resource and land management agencies through its outdoor conservation program that helps reduce wildfire risks across the country.

The Forest Service also partners with veteran agencies and organizations such as the Department of Veterans AffairsDepartment of Defense Wounded Warrior ProgramVetSuccessEmployer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and local organizations to recruit and match veterans, including disabled veterans, to vacant positions within the agency.

To help urban forests adapt and be resilient to a changing climate, their current health status needs to be determined. Systematic data are being collected by conservation students on the abundance, extent, and health of trees and other vegetation in urban areas.To help urban forests adapt and be resilient to a changing climate, their current health status needs to be determined. Systematic data are being collected by conservation students on the abundance, extent, and health of trees and other vegetation in urban areas.

An employment alternative offered through the Forest Service is enrollment in one of the agency’s 28 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. This rigorous vocational training program combines a demanding academic curriculum and prepares students to excel in the 21st century workforce.  One emphasis area focuses on “green-collar” jobs and clean energy issues.  Recognizing the program’s efforts in green jobs training, President Obama has endorsed them as America’s Green Job Corps.

“Many of the communities most affected by economic hard times are located near national forests and grasslands. By providing temporary jobs, the Forest Service is contributing to stronger communities and providing safe access to the forests and grasslands for their use and enjoyment by people of all abilities,” Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell noted.