Careers and Competencies in Forestry, previously known as Introduction to Forestry, serves as the foundational course through which students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forestry begin their exploration of the discipline. It is also the class in which students meet peers they will spend the next four years working alongside in the field and in the classroom. To improve students’ technical and personal development, the course now involves a weekend of skill and camaraderie-building activities known as Root Camp.
“The primary goal is to help build a community within the student body, while also providing them with the skills they will need in future classes,” said Dr. Shelby Laird, assistant professor of forestry.
In 2013, the college completed a comprehensive, research-based curriculum assessment and revision to ensure the forestry program continues to effectively produce natural resource professionals capable of successfully meeting the demands of the evolving field. Laird said that Root Camp serves to strengthen key competencies emphasized by the research, such as interpersonal communication skills, the ability to work as a cohesive team and the development of leadership qualities.
During the camp, held the weekend of September 11, key technical skills, including how to navigate with a compass and take forest stand measurements, were incorporated into activities conducted around the SFA campus. Laird said this familiarized the class, primarily composed of freshmen and transfer students, with portions of campus they otherwise might not see within their first few weeks at SFA, such as the SFA Recreation Trails and Gardens and Pineywoods Native Plant Center.