Page 11 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2019
P. 11

“Across the country, our members are telling us they
are having trouble finding enough people to fill critical positions — in the woods, on the road and in the mill.”
— Deb Hawkinson, President, Forest Resources Association
 However, “mechanization is nothing new,” said Dr. Dale Greene, dean of the University of Georgia (UGA) Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources. “It has been a part of our industry all along and it continues to be what helps maintain and expand our production and improve the quality of our products. For decades we have been shifting to fewer people with better skill sets as we mechanized.”
Warnell aims to prepare the next generation of forestry professionals through a holistic education model. “Our curriculum is a mix of traditional
classroom time along with experiential learning in field labs and during summer internships,” Greene said. Experience in the field is invaluable, Greene added, as all forestry majors are required to participate in a three-week field course during their junior year. “We also focus on communication and analytical skills as much as we do on learning traditional forestry.”
Sanders, a Warnell graduate, said that, while programs like UGA’s are essential, he worries about whether new people are coming into the industry through
education paths like that. “What scares me the most about this industry is that it looks impossible for someone to get into forestry unless they’re born into it or have a lot of money,” said Sanders, a third-generation logger himself. “There’s no silver bullet solution. It’s going to take a lot to fix the problem, and to get people into the industry, we have to get them young.”
Greene sees a stark incentive for the industry to address the workforce devel- opment challenges it faces: “You change or you go out of business.” 
 1) Georgia Forestry Commission. (2017). 2017 Economic Benefits of the Forest Industry in Georgia. Retrieved from impacts/2017%20Forest%20Industry%20%20Economic%20Impacts%20Factsheet.pdf. 2) Georgia Forestry Commission. 3) Georgia Forestry Commission.
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