Forestry Student Spotlight – Thaddeus Swart

Undergraduate student Thaddeus Swart is featured in the spotlight as he shares many insights including his experience from working in Isle Royale National Park.

MSU Forestry undergraduate student Thaddeus Swart

Thaddeus Swart

Hometown: Lowell, MI

Expected graduation: Spring 2021

Favorite Hobbies: Guitar, Running, Skateboarding


Last summer I was hired to work on Isle Royale National Park as a Forestry Tech. I lived on the island from mid-May until late August. We worked full time on an 8 days on, 6 days off schedule. When we were working, we would camp up to seven nights in a row, get up every morning and cook breakfast on a camp stove. Then we would pack up our gear and hike/bushwhack to plots all over the island, sometimes 5-6 miles one way from camp. We would lay out transect lines, collect GPS points, tree diameters, species, coarse woody debris assessments, soil cores, and tree cores. After we collected all of our data, we would hike back, cook dinner, go for a swim in Lake Superior or one of the inland lakes/coves, and be in bed by 7:30. It was a packed full summer of good friends, hard work, new experiences, and beautiful scenery.

Why forestry?

I knew that Forestry would allow me outdoor work opportunities in new parts of the world. I have really appreciated the hard skills that Forestry has given me.

Career goals:

After my undergraduate degree I plan to pursue a master’s degree in plant ecology or botany. I would like to use the skills and knowledge from my education as an ecologist or botanist for the National Park Service.

Advice for new forestry students:

Work hard, make connections, and apply to jobs that you think are out of your league.

Other comments:

The Department of Forestry and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has been a great place to make an academic home. The community is so supportive and tight and I am really happy to be a part of it!

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