UMaine undergrad forestry enrollment doubles since ’08


Why have enrollments at the University of Maine forestry program more than doubled since 2008? For very good reasons, including competitive tuition, a scholarship program that awards $300,000 annually, and the best location in the northeastern United States for studying forestry. Students also have plenty of summer internship opportunities to stay in Maine and work with the state’s foresters.

bill-livingston-column-sigOf the 31 students in the incoming class, 84 percent are from out of state and most are from New England. Freshman Ethan Olson came to UMaine from Texas and, like other UMaine students, his decision reflects his goals.

“I wish nothing more than to be a part of a movement to rejuvenate America’s woodlands for the benefit of the environment and America’s economy,” Olson said. 

Two seniors in forestry, Danae Shurn, from Washington County, and Sean Foote of New York also appreciate UMaine’s strong focus on sustainability.

“I chose forestry as a career because I love the State of Maine,” Shurn said. “Forests have always been a huge part of my childhood and adult life, spiritually and artistically, and they are part of what makes Maine a great place to live.  I want future generations to enjoy all that Maine’s forests can provide, and so I am in forestry to learn how we can work together to preserve part of what makes my state so great.” 

Foote hopes to increase understanding about the importance of sustainability, saying, “Absolutely nothing on our beautiful planet can be accomplished without educated insight on how to manage, protect, and propel sustainability throughout the globe.”

umaineforestryenrollments-newThe growth in enrollment also reflects support from the university, which identified forestry as a signature area, said Steve Shaler, director of the School of Forest Resources.

“We are committed to being nationally recognized and accredited,” Shaler said, “and we also have strong support provided by the state’s forestry community.” 

The School of Forest Resources also includes undergraduate programs in parks, recreation and tourism as well as forest operations, bioproducts, and bioenergy.

“Promoting forest conservation, financial stability for landowners, and forest ecosystem diversity are the goals I have for my future work as a professional forester,” said Hunter Manley, who was named the top Forestry Scholar for 2016-17.  “Most importantly, what could be more fulfilling than helping woodlot owners meet their goals?”

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