Working as an intern for the Forest Service through the VetsWork program of the Mt. Adams Institute has been a remarkable networking and learning opportunity. Only a month in to the timeline of the program and I have already had the chance to work within the recreation department of the Davy Crockett National Forest as well as working and learning how the timber management department operates. While working with these two departments I have been able to work directly with the public within the campgrounds, maintain trails, check the basal area of timber stands, and work on site prep of a timber sale area. Add to that, the networking that I have been working on with both individuals here in the Forest Service as well as folks in the State Parks; this has already been an amazing trip. I enjoy doing the trail maintenance work even though it can be hard going at times. I think that a reason for this is because I understand what I’m working on and I can often see the results of my efforts quite clearly and quickly. Doing the timber work is a bit less rewarding but I think that is only because of that lack of viewable results. I have learned though that both are critical. I relate it to my military experience.
In the Army one of the key units is the “Fire Team”. In this team you have the team leader and three other individuals each of whom have a different specialty. If one of the people doesn’t do their job, the team fails. So far, I think the same can be said about the Forest Service. Timber is the one that brings in the money while recreation is the public face of the Forest Service. Of course, you also have wildlife and administration; both of which provide vital functions. If any of the departments do not communicate effectively with each other the whole team suffers. Coming from this military mindset, the Forest Service seems to be a very good fit in regards to how I prefer to operate within a workplace.