Two Degrees in Four Years

TSAS Forest Tech Alum James AireyForest Technology graduate James Airey discusses his hands-on course work, his work experiences and his goal of earning 2 degrees from UNH in just four years; an Associate of Applied Science from Thompson School in Forest Technology and soon in May of 2011, a Bachelors in Forestry

During high school, I first developed an interest in forestry when enrolled in a vocational agricultural program. This, in combination with my past adventures in the woods as a child, inspired me to look to the forest as a potential career path. I applied to the Thompson School of Applied Science’s Forest Technology Program because it offered a unique opportunity to learn essential concepts of forestry, taught by a distinguished and experienced faculty with a hands-on approach to learning. Essentially, the forestry program offers everything a future forester or forest technician needs to know in order to be successful.

The Thompson School’s Forest Technology Program contains relevant, real-life coursework that must be understood and applied if a student has an interest in working successfully in the forestry field. Additionally, during my years at the Thompson School, I gained valuable experience working as a sawmill technician at a local white pine sawmill where I fulfilled my work experience requirement. This job opportunity taught me the value of hard work and dedication to producing a valuable product.

After graduating from the Thompson School in May of 2009, I transferred to a bachelor's degree at UNH to pursue forestry further. In short, the Thompson School prepared me to take the next step. Attending the Thompson School prior to my enrollment within the 4-year program at UNH was the best decision I’ve made. I value both experiences; however, the majority of the coursework I will continue to apply in my future workplace will come from my experience as a Forest Technology major at Thompson School.

James Airey stands with treeI believe that my combined hands-on experience at the Thompson School and credentials of a four year degree will allow me to become more attractive to potential employers in the future. I plan to graduate in May of 2011 with my Bachelors degree in Forestry, my second degree after gaining my Associate in Applied Science degree in Forest Technology from the Thompson School. Currently, I’m employed as forest technician for the United States Forest Service, working as a member of the silvicuture and wildlife research team in Durham, New Hampshire. Working on two experimental forests in southern Maine and north-central New Hampshire, I’ve been able to directly apply the skills I learned at Thompson School while working, which include compass use, forest mapping, surveying, GIS/GPS technology use, timber cruising, chainsaw operation, tree-cutting, tree-climbing, wildland fire use/control and wildlife habitat identification.

I also work part-time with New England Forestry Consultants Inc., helping the regional forester in central New Hampshire with various natural resource projects, including timber cruising and boundary line reconnaissance. My goals for the future are to continue to gain valuable experience working within the field of forestry and eventually to become a licensed forester, working in either the public or private sector. I am very thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to attend the Thompson School and hope to advance my knowledge of forestry in the future.

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