Putting the Pieces Together
Current Forest Technology student Erik Keenan writes about his current course work (everything he's learned is coming together in a project that gives the student the experience of a "start to finish" job), being a non-traditional commuter student at UNH and his plans for the future.
My name is Erik Keenan and I am a second year student in the Forest Technology Program. I started out in a Business program and realized it was not for me, then I went to work for a Tree Service company and it sparked an interest and that is how I chose to join the Forest Technology Program at the Thompson School.
Currently in class I am working on a Forest Management Plan (A Forest Management Plan is a document that describes all of the stands of timber on a property and then gives a prescription of how each stand should be managed to meet the goals of the land owner, over the next 10 to 20 years. This plan is a culmination of all that a forester does and is considered the "capstone" project for Forest Technology students). This plan is an assignment in my Forest Management and Operations course (FORT 273) and incorporates all my previous coursework, including mapping, surveying, mensuration, forest ecology and silviculture. This is a “start to finish” job by the student, including choosing the property. This allows us to put everything we have learned into a real life situation.
I’m a commuter student and honestly commuting is not that bad. There are plenty of places to study right at the Thompson School and I spend a lot of time on the various UNH properties with my dog, snow shoeing and just walking around in the spring and the fall. UNH has a lot to offer a student who is interested in woodlands.
The small class sizes was one of the most appealing aspects of the Thompson School and the Forest Technology program. It allows for more teacher to student interaction and the community is great, very friendly. You are studying with like-minded people and everyone seems to mesh really well together. The Thompson School is also great if you are a hands-on learner. In almost every lab, you are outside, using the tools of the trade and learning how to use them correctly and efficiently.
I've also found that the Forest Technology faculty are outstanding. They help out by posting jobs for students and they also answer any and all questions you might have even if it’s not school related. I am a non-traditional student and would not change a thing about my experience at the Thompson School. It has been well worth it. Now, my plan for the future is to start a job after the Thompson School and start picking away at my Bachelor’s degree in Forestry.