A Note from the Department Chair: Summer 2021

Despite the tenacious COVID-19 pandemic, MSU Forestry is moving forward in important ways, which should be evident in this issue of the MSU Forester.

Dear MSU Forestry Alumni and Friends,

Despite the tenacious COVID-19 pandemic, MSU Forestry is moving forward in important ways, which should be evident in this issue of the MSU Forester. I am very excited about two major educational initiatives. Students will begin enrolling in courses for our largely online M.S. degree in Forestry (see page 10) in January 2022, with intro field courses offered in August 2022. This first of its kind program in the U.S. is targeted towards working professionals who can’t relocate to pursue educational goals. The program has strong field components (both in Michigan and advised remotely) and will seek SAF accreditation. 

Our developing collaborations with community colleges and MSU’s Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT), a project led by Dr. Justin Kunkle (Director of Undergraduate Studies), will provide access to quality higher education in forestry for rural and urban students alike (see page 8). Students will be able to pursue credentials in forestry or urban forestry / arboriculture with an IAT certificate or an Associate’s degree from Bay or Muskegon Community Colleges and can then choose to continue with a B.S. in Forestry from MSU. 

We are moving forward by continuing to become a more diverse department. Some recent incoming undergraduate classes are about equally split between men and women; students of color now make up 18%, 24%, and 54% of our B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. programs. Three members of the MSU Forestry community are on the steering committee for the Women’s Forest Congress (see page 6). In part, we made progress on diversity, a goal that has long eluded the forestry profession, through deliberate efforts to be more welcoming and inclusive – which has benefited everyone.

Generous support from our alumni and donors provides important forward momentum. Many of you will remember Dr. Donald Dickmann, who taught silviculture for 40 years. Through a generous donation, he established an endowment with annual proceeds going to support research and engagement in professional meetings of early career faculty. We really appreciate everything that Don has done for MSU Forestry (see page 11). 

Alumni often ask me, ‘how can I help?’ During this critical time for the forestry profession, forestry academic programs, and higher education, here are some tangible suggestions for how you can help sustain MSU Forestry’s momentum.

  • Become an alumni ambassador and send talented students our way, especially for our B.S. and online M.S. programs,
  • Mentor current students (see page 7)
  • Make a donation to support department programs or to help with the purchase of compasses for our current students (see page 5). 
  • Get involved in the Forestry Alumni Association.

For more information, visit our alumni contact form at for.msu.edu/contact.

Our current momentum positions MSU Forestry as one of the most innovative and best forestry programs globally. Thanks for your support in continuing this momentum. 

Go Green!

My best,


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