Forester Friday features an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique contribution to the forestry field. This series is meant to highlight and recognize these stories.
“Some days I get to wear my analyst cap and dig into the inventory to answer a question for my client and my curious mind. And sometimes I get to wear my hardhat and talk to loggers and watch heavy equipment actively managing the forest! I also love the peace and beauty I get to experience with me, my dog and my truck out in the woods alone,” says Edith Dooley, a forester with the forestry and natural resources consulting company Mason, Bruce & Girard.
Edith, who is one of two foresters who manage the Avery Family Forest, a family-owned tree farm certified through the American Tree Farm System, is this week’s Forester Friday profile.
Edith has worked in this position for two years, and has spent five years with Mason, Bruce & Girard. Her daily job duties include a mix of both field work and office work. Some of these duties are timber cruising (the process of measuring areas of the forest to determine characteristics such as average tree sizes, in preparation for a timber harvest), building and maintaining hiking trails, and planning timber harvests and commercial thinning logging operations.
In addition to work experience, education has played an important role in Edith’s career. She discovered forestry in graduate school when she was studying the disturbance ecology of whitebark pine and mountain pine beetle at the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation at the University of Montana.
For this profile, Edith answered a series of questions about her career in forestry via email. Here are some of her responses.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of my job is its diversity and autonomy. Managing this forest for my client, for my employer, for the local community, and for the forest and the land itself is a huge responsibility that requires constant vigilance for a wide range of aspects, including technical duties and social relationships. Essentially my client and employer trust me to keep on top of all this, and that entrusted responsibility allows me an awesome sense of ownership that I have not experienced to this degree in any other job I have held.
What drove you or why did you decide to work in forestry?
I knew I wanted a career in natural resources since my childhood camping in national parks with my family. I was even a National Park Service ranger for Halloween when I was 10! I focused on forestry because of the availability and objectives of the jobs available. I really love mycology, but I realized that no one was going to pay me to know about mushrooms. For my undergrad thesis, I wrote about animal behavior studied through bird song. I loved doing the fieldwork, but I became disillusioned with the realization that even if I discovered something striking about how humans were affecting the natural world in a negative way, that knowledge didn’t do anything to fix the problem. I realized I am a do-er. I like to have a good idea and be able to enact it efficiently, and then enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor. This is why working in private industry is a good fit for me, because things move fast, and the market and my employer reward smart, efficient and cutting-edge work.
What is something you want people to know about your job, and/or the impact of your job?
I want people to know that traditional, long-rotation forestry designed to grow the healthiest, most productive forest with the highest value logs, is alive and well in Oregon! I feel blessed that my client has selected a long-rotation management philosophy, where the time trees spend growing between timber harvests is longer than in typical industrial forestry. That means I get to manage for timber, thereby supporting local supply chains and economies, and manage for climate change by sequestering carbon in the trees while that stand grows to its biological rotation age. I believe that we can manage our forests to support the forest products economy and culture, and the climate.
What is your favorite outdoor activity in Oregon? Any particular place you like to do this activity?
I love skiing and rock climbing. I ski at Hoodoo, which is a hidden gem in the Cascades. Their motto is “Steeper, Deeper, Cheaper” and it’s true, but ssshhh…. don’t tell the Portland crowds! I have also started backcountry skiing. Recently, I have gotten hooked on roped rock climbing, and am looking forward to lots of established routes around Sweet Home.
Edith is just one of many Oregon foresters who help protect forests and keep them healthy and safe for future generations.
If you know an Oregon forester with an interesting or unique story we should share, email OFRI Social Media Intern Autumn Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.