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Forestry Scholarship Association, by Eric Hoberg, FSA Spokesperson

University of Montana, College of Forestry and Conservation Supporters Form Organization to Serve Students

by : Eric Hoberg, Spokesperson, Forestry Scholarship Association

In early February, 2012, a group of College of Forestry (CFC) alumni, faculty, and supporters recognized a need for an organization of supporters of CFC students and student groups.  “It has become evident over the past several years that a large number of individuals, organizations, businesses and industry professionals have a vested interest in the many student organizations within the College of Forestry and Conservation, and that these groups did not have a clear way to directly support the students and the student organizations they are a part of,” says Dr. Beth Dodson, CFC Forestry Program Director.  “These supporters give generously in the form of time, mentorship, equipment, and other non-monetary items.”  To better coordinate and focus those efforts and resources, the Forestry Scholarship Association (FSA) was formed.

The Forestry Scholarship Association is an organization dedicated to serving and supporting the students and student organizations of the CFC at the University of Montana.  The goals of the FSA focus on benefitting students and their future, helping them gain valuable experiential lessons outside the classroom while succeeding in their formal studies.  “We want future natural resource managers to be prepared to meet the challenges which await them,” saysAlex Williams, FSA founding member and current FSA Board Chair.  The FSA has a broad base of membership consisting of School of Forestry and CFC alumni, faculty, current students, community members, and other supporters.  It is not an alumni association.  The FSA is working actively with students, faculty, and administration of the CFC and the University of Montana to identify current and potential needs and ensure that those needs are met.

Since its formation, the FSA has been busy.  Much of the 2012 spring semester was spent assisting the Foresters’ Ballwith development of a strategic plan that charts a course for the future of the historic event.  That plan was approved by University of Montana President Royce Engstrom, ensuring the continuation of an iconic event in natural resource management.  Momentum has continued to build, as the FSA hosted a homecoming BBQ, the leadership class L-280“Followership to Leadership”, and the chainsaw course S-212 “Wildland Fire Chainsaws” for CFC students.  “To me, the FSA is a way to give back to the student groups that were such a positive and integral component of my college education,” says Williams.

As part of the implementation of the Foresters’ Ball strategic plan, the FSA is organizing and hosting two new events in conjunction with the Foresters’ Ball.  A Careers in Natural Resource Management Fair held 1-5 pm on Friday, March 22, will highlight career and education opportunities within the broad field of natural resources.  Community Forestry Day will run 10 am-2 pm on Saturday, March 23, and will provide an opportunity for families with school-age childrento engage in fun, experiential learning about the natural environment through hands-on activities.  Both events will be held in the Foresters’ Ball, this year to be built inside the East and West Auxiliary Gyms of the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus.

FSA President Cory Noordermeer is eager to continue developing opportunities to serve CFC students.  “As we move forward, we are excited about the positive impacts we can have on students and their education at the University of Montana,” he said.  For more information about the Forestry Scholarship Association, go towww.forestryscholarshipassociation.org.

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