Samantha Arneberg in the field

More Than Just Trees

When you earn a bachelor of science in forest resources from the University of Idaho, you learn about the forest, not just the trees. The diversity of the forestry program positions undergraduates to learn about a broad range of best management practices for both the environment and the people who influence it. Through selective use of elective credits or by choosing a minor in a related field, the program gives you the flexibility to concentrate on an area of forest resources that interests you.

Recent graduate Sam Arneberg is a good example of how curricular choices may be optimized to create a career path. Arneberg studied the two subjects that most interested her by double majoring in fire ecology and management and forest resources.

“The more I started learning about forests and their management issues, the more I felt a drive to understand our past mistakes and successes and the scientific research that can lead to better management practices,” said Arneberg. “In addition, fire will always be a part of our ecosystem, and with our increase in the wildland urban interface, fire managers will forever be trying to figure out the best management for both the people and the environment," she said.

Complementary Skill Sets

The College of Natural Resources' bachelor’s degrees in forest resources and fire ecology and management are designed to complement each other. The forest resources curriculum combines classroom knowledge with practical field skills such as tree identification, forest measurement, forest inventory, and pathogen and insect identification.

"Through the fire program I found it very useful to have learned fire history, policy and behavior and then to be able to take that to the lab and write a prescribed burning plan using both the pre-burn field sampling data and fire behavior models," said Arneberg. “After compiling our data and writing a burn plan, the prescribed burn was then conducted. A post burn assessment summarizing the results of the burn brought all the components of these majors together."

Capstone Project

Seniors in the forest resources program complete a research project and then present it to an outside audience. During one of her senior classes, Arneberg completed a research project on the decline of yellow-cedar and climate change and gave presentations to a Girl Scout troop in Moscow and to an assisted living/retirement group.

“I would like to pursue a career in public education on environmental issues such as climate change, but even more so in the direction of fire and forest management. I feel that this would benefit society using innovative knowledge, technology and leadership to help people understand why we make the management decisions we do and the science that supports them,” reports Arneberg.

After graduating in May 2009, Arneberg has used the skills of her education and previous work experiences, timber marking and cruising, fire fighting and urban forestry, to expand her knowledge of the environments by working on an Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT). She is learning about the land management practices of the National Parks, Monuments and Preserves throughout Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Montana and their efforts to control noxious weeds.