Update from the Department Chair - Summer 2023

Richard K. Kobe provides details about international connections and department updates.

Dear MSU Forestry Alumni and Friends,

MSU Forestry has an international presence in research and education, which brings great benefits to our faculty and students. Conducting research or studying in a foreign country can be transformative in solving research problems and in educational growth. The exchange of ideas, which should benefit both the visitor and the host, helps us see things from a new perspective. Learning about a new culture provides a basis to reflect on our own culture and practices.

A more globally informed perspective supports success in our globally connected world. Similar benefits derive from MSU Forestry’s international students, who come from numerous countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Columbia, Greece, Iran, Malawi, and Nepal.

This issue of the MSU Forester provides a glimpse into some of our international activities. There are many other international activities for which we lacked space in this edition. Some additional highlights include a new education abroad program in the Yucatán of Mexico led by Dr. David MacFarlane, research on the changing Arctic in the Yukon Territory of Canada led by Dr. Emily Huff, and a new Spanish-language version of the professional short course ‘Understanding Forest Carbon Management’ that was developed by our Forest Carbon and Climate Program.

With a view towards harnessing the transformative potential of international collaborations, eight of us traveled to Finland in May (two faculty members participated remotely) as part of a trade and study mission and to lead a workshop on ‘Climate Change Solutions through Biobased Products.’ The workshop was co-led by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), hosted by Business Finland, and financially supported by the US Embassy - Helsinki. After the workshop, many of us met with MSU Forestry Alum Marko Katila (PhD, ‘88), who has developed several innovative forest-based investment projects. Our journey laid the foundation for collaborations and inspired lots of ideas.

We would love to hear about your international experiences and what they have meant to you. Please send your reflections to Lauren Noel; if we get a good response, we will find a way to share your thoughts in a future communication.

Finally, spring 2023 was a challenging semester and I want to acknowledge the lost lives and injuries of students in February’s shooting. Many of us found comfort and resilience in how the MSU community came together in many ways. I attended and found especially moving the event to welcome students back to campus the day before classes resumed; tens of thousands participated – students, families, faculty, staff, local residents, and alums. Thank you for your support.

Please contact me if you would like to share your thoughts or are interested in giving back.



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