Forestry Student Spotlight – Lee Spangler

Lee Spangler shares his passion on public education and the many benefits of forests.

Hometown: Holly, MI

Expected Graduation: Spring 2021

Favorite Hobbies 

Camping, hiking, kayaking, telling my friends more about ecology/trees than they really care to know, and spending time with my dog Skipper.

Interesting Experience in Forestry

I think one of the most interesting/awesome experiences I had was during FOR 420 [Forestry Field Studies] last year. After realizing our planned day had much more free time than anticipated, Dr. Rothstein and the class decided to visit Tahquamenon Falls as it was only about 20 minutes from our last field stop. We enjoyed a nice break in one of Michigan’s most beautiful parks while getting to experience him making the most of the impromptu “vacation” by tossing in the occasional ecology/forestry nuggets of wisdom. It was also interesting because the falls were massively flooded due to the time of year. Dr. MacFarlane provided a similar experience later on in the course, though the weather was against us on that particular day so it had to be cut short.

Lee Spangler crossing a river on a fallen tree

Why did you choose Forestry? 

Of all the natural resources fields my connection to forests was the strongest.

I felt most passionate about the benefits forests provide, the need to continue and improve their responsible use, and expanding public education about those benefits and uses.

Career Goals

Most of my career goals revolve around educating people on the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of forested areas in rural and urban settings, as well as increasing awareness of the value of those benefits which are not easily equated to dollar amounts.

I also feel it’s important to educate the general public on how a managed forest can often be an ecologically healthier forest.

Advice for New Forestry Students

Take an active part, schedule permitting, of the passion for education and student well being that the faculty and administrative individuals within the Forestry Department have. Attend department meet and greet functions, luncheons, etc. Not merely for their professional development benefits, but for the personal ones as well.

Due to its relatively small size to other departments, the overall sense of community is phenomenal. In all honesty, I never expected that kind of concern for the students by the faculty and staff when I prepared for a college education in my 30s.

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