The Alberta Forest Products Association recently released a video highlighting Gillian Stauffer, a student in the University of Alberta’s forestry program. In the video, Gillian speaks to her love of her studies and how proud she is to have chosen her career path. I was a student of the same program as Gillian and was inspired to share just a few great aspects of an education in forestry.

In the University of Alberta’s forestry program, I had the opportunity to learn outside in the forest. This is a huge appeal to those who enter the program, as most of us are drawn to forestry due to our love of being outside. Gillian said in her video, “it smells good and you feel fresh” when you are out in the forest, who wouldn’t want a classroom like that!

Not only do you get to study outside, but in the summer months, there are ample opportunities to work outside too. In the video, Gillian mentions her summers working for Blue Ridge Lumber. These types of summer jobs are available to all students, and they are not your typical internship. You get to work hands-on with companies in important roles and can find specific jobs that fit your interests. I was able to work with different companies in their silviculture programs. In the summer you could find me assisting with tree planting programs, completing reforestation surveys, or working at a tree seed orchard.

One of my favorite parts of attending the University of Alberta’s forestry program, however, was the close community between the students. Despite being a program at a large institution, class sizes are smaller and you really get to know your peers. Before classes begin, all first years get to tour the province and see forest harvesting, reforestation, and mill sites; all while camping and getting to know everyone you will be going to school with. I was even able to travel to Newfoundland with some of my classmates to attend a conference!

I loved my time at the University of Alberta, and would highly recommend the program to anyone who loves being outside and is looking for diverse career opportunities when they graduate. If you would like to learn more about the University of Alberta’s forestry program visit their website.

Watch the Alberta Forest Products Association’s video highlighting student, Gillian Stauffer, here:

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