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Forestry Conservation Technician


Description

Forestry conservation technicians assist conservation officers, helping develop, maintain and protect forests by growing and planting new tree seedlings, fighting insects and diseases that attack trees, and helping to control soil erosion. They work for governments, tramping throughout the nation's natural habitats and protected parks. They watch for degradation brought on by natural forces, as well as human influence.

Their job is complex and important. First of all, they monitor the trees, animals and diseases that threaten to destroy the natural wildlife, and help with things like fire control and tree planting. They also assist in public outreach. They work with visitors, especially those who work closer to urban centers. They give training talks on camping tips, and the importance of preserving natural spaces. They may travel to schools and community centers, or give presentations out of resource centers at the park. They also help with search and rescue missions, as well.

Forestry conservation technicians also look into environmental and population health--they assist in regular investigations of water conditions, soil conditions, and animal populations. They may collect samples to be sent off to biologists--this helps them look after their own area, as well as give the government a good idea about the health and situations of the nation's wildlife all-round.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$30,630
 
Median Salary:
$50,340
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$70,770

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in working as a forestry conservation technician? Forestry conservation technicians should have a profound interest in nature and a concern for the environment, they also need to be physically fit. They should possess good communication skills, both in person and in writing. They must be be tactful, diplomatic and confident in their ability to handle difficult people and situations. They are able to remain calm in stressful situations, and be thorough and patient when problem-solving. Forest conservation technicians should be skilled at compiling information, gathering data and samples, and working with people, as well as able to work, and sometimes live, alone.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor the activities of hunters, anglers, trappers, commercial fishers, industrial organizations and people using outdoor recreation facilities
  • Keep records of activities, birth rates, environmental conditions, and anything else relating to conservation
  • Present information to the media, schools, recreational sporting clubs and civic groups
  • Investigate water pollution and habitat damage or destruction
  • Implement control measures to prevent or overcome damage caused by wildlife or by people
  • Issue various licenses and permits
  • Inspect commercial operations relating to fish and wildlife, recreation and protected areas
  • Forestry conservation technicians work long, tiring hours ensuring the responsible use of the nation's protected areas and natural resources. They monitor everything from hunting seasons to newly born deer. They are involved in studies regarding growth and development of resources, as well as trying to pinpoint areas that are being depleted by illegal hunting, camping, or commercial encroachment. This job gives officers a chance to spend a good amount of time outdoors, and some do a lot of traveling--especially those who work within a large park or region.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Forestry conservation technicians can work anywhere in the US, and new workers might not get to choose where they are sent. Employed by the governmental associations concerned with environmental protection, they can be sent to rural and remote locations. They work primarily outdoors, year-round and in all weather conditions, as well as spend time in an office. Occasionally, they give lectures in classroom settings, or go to court to give evidence in trapper or poacher cases.
  • They usually work long hours, and can be hard at work in the predawn hours of the morning, or during the darkness of late rural nights. They often work weekends and holidays as they may have to respond to emergencies during their days or hours off. Their work is sometimes dangerous. They are subject to injuries from animal bites, hunting accidents, and confrontations with hunters who have been accused of poaching.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Forestry conservation technicians can work in rural areas, or work in urban centers, monitoring wildlife in surrounding regions. They can advance to supervisory positions. Some may become conservation officers, environmental activists, teachers, or professors at postsecondary institutions. Others move on to become land use and rural planners.
 

  Educational Paths  
Forestry conservation technicians are generally graduates of two- or three-year forest technology programs, or have completed a two-year diploma program in renewable resource management. In addition to this basic education, they often have experience working in the industry as a log scaler, timber cruiser, or with a tree planting team. They also often study environmental science, geography, or biology in a postsecondary institution.

It is a good idea to volunteer for conservation authorities or find related jobs while you wait for a position to open up. Employers in this line of work prefer applicants with some volunteer experience, as it proves their dedication to the field.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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