Tell us about your background?
I have Bachelors and Masters Degrees in forest management from Purdue University. I have worked as a seedling nursery forester and private lands forester for the Indiana Division of Forestry and have been an extension forester for the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center at Purdue University since 2007.
How did you come to work on hardwood tree improvement and management?
I grew up in southern Indiana and developed a great interest in and appreciation for trees and forests. Forests in the central hardwood area, including Indiana, provide a multitude of products and services to people and the environment. Science-based management can help us to continue to enjoy those products and services in a sustainable way. Hardwood tree improvement involves selecting and breeding trees for desirable traits like disease resistance, fast growth rate, or superior wood quality. This work will provide healthier more productive tree plantings for a variety of management objectives.
How did you get involved with FNR Extension and outreach?
After over 15 years of working with private landowners as a district forester for the Indiana division of forestry, I wanted to get involved in forestry education and research on a larger scale. The research areas and outreach opportunities provided through the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center provide a great platform for those efforts.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The great variety of people, organizations and projects I am privileged to cooperate with means every day offers very interesting opportunities. This is a position where you can help others learn, while continually learning yourself.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Time is always limited, while the issues and challenges of forest management and tree improvement are wide-ranging. There are so many opportunities available that selecting the most productive areas to spend time on can be a great challenge.
What part of your job did you least expect to be doing?
I now serve on the boards of several organizations with an interest in trees and forests. I did not anticipate that would be a significant part of my work, but I now recognize the important role these groups play in sustainable forest management and effective forest research.
Do you have an outside hobby?
I have been a woodworker for many years. I especially like mission and arts-and-crafts period furniture projects. I also own a woodland that I use partly to learn from as I practice a variety of forest management techniques. It has been a great tool to help me better understand the nuances of how forest management practices are applied.