VetsWork: Public Service is an Essential Service

by | VetsWork

As many fields have shut down over recent months, I’ve been lucky to be partnered with a program that has stayed hard at work fulfilling its mission: the Timber program at Shawnee National Forest.

The work I have done alongside the Timber crew includes taking account of the forest’s current stocking, laying out timber sale area boundaries, cruising and marking timber for sale, and more.

All of this work supports the overall management plan to promote a healthy forest. Timber harvests help this process through culling damaged, diseased, over-mature, and suppressed trees. Harvests also thin canopy crowding to encourage optimal regeneration of vigorous specimens of desirable species. Further benefits are gained through corollary activities such as harvest area site preparation and prescribed fire, wildlife habitat improvement, erosion control measures, and re-investment of the revenue generated by the timber sale.

In the midst of this pandemic, it is satisfying to think that in addition to improving public land the work that we’ve done here in the Timber program ultimately contributes to the national recovery by maintaining continuity in the supply chain of essential raw materials and products such as construction lumber and paper goods.

Through working in public land stewardship during the pandemic, I’ve seen first-hand the adaptability and creative problem-solving inherent to public service. I’m proud to be a part of the VetsWork program because it facilitates me being part of a team dedicated to accomplishing their mission under difficult circumstances, which is a situation that many veterans thrive in. It can be hard to find a team like that in the civilian world, so I appreciate the opportunities offered through the partnership of VetsWork, Mt. Adams Institute, and the US Forest Service.

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