A look at what Guild connections can mean for forestry practice

From the editor: Connor Hogan is a Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies graduate. This spring, he attended a Yale SAF and Forest Stewards Guild gathering. Here, he shares some thoughts about that gathering, and what the Guild means to his professional efforts and the essential connections we all need to fulfill a mission of responsible forestry.

"In the sometimes isolating field of forestry, I have found the Forest Stewards Guild to be an invaluable resource for the diverse projects I undertake as a New England forester. Over this past year, I have been drafting a strategic plan for forest restoration and wildlife habitat improvement at the 4,400-acre wildlife refuge where I work in Connecticut. Looking to broaden my understanding of these topics, I attended the Forest Stewards Guild meeting at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in April that focused on wildlife management and ecological forestry. At the meeting, the Guild’s Northeast Region Director Amanda Mahaffey and guild member Tom LaPointe of the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge spoke at length about methods to identify and differentiate ecological sites, establish focal species for conservation, and target forest operations to create and manage specific habitat conditions. After the meeting, both speakers also took time to connect me with additional resources in order to ensure I was leaving fully equipped to complete my strategic planning.

The presenters at the meeting underscored the values which have attracted me to the Forest Stewards Guild since I began working in the forest sector several years ago. They emphasized the need to place forest and wildlife health among the top priorities of land management while humbly acknowledging the deficits in our scientific understanding. They also encouraged the students and Guild members to continue developing our connections with other forest practitioners and expand our resource networks so we can be better informed foresters.

To me, the establishment of these connections and the ecologically-minded forest community they form, is the great success of the Forest Steward Guild." - Connor Hogan, Director, Mclean Game Refuge.

-Thanks to Connor for the photos in this article.