Studying, managing forest resources can be cool careers

March 25, 2011|Celeste Maiorana
  • Acorns are an important food source for wildlife until spring and summer growth makes new supplies available.
By Celeste Maiorana

As the winter snows melted away, the remainders of last fall's abundant acorn crop emerged on the forest floor. Many were beginning to sprout, valiantly trying to make new trees.

These acorns will continue to be an important food source until spring and summer growth makes new supplies of food available. Some of these acorns will manage to become seedlings, also a supply of high-quality forage. Some will eventually become mature trees, supplying new acorns to keep the cycle going.

Understanding the condition and needs of our natural resources has never been more important than it is now. Changing conditions, species migration, human population growth, and infrastructure and energy demands press heavily upon them. It is important that we continually foster interest in, affection for and desires to know and manage these resources that are so important to us and to a healthy flourishing planet.

In this spirit, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, along with the State Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards and the Maryland Forestry Boards Foundation, and in partnership with Allegany College of Maryland, sponsor the Natural Resources Careers Conference (NRCC).

The conference will be Sunday, July 24, through Saturday, July 30. Field professionals and high school students from across the state will join together for seven days of intense instruction and fun at the Hickory Environmental Education Center in Garrett County, Md.

The conference is designed for Maryland high school students interested in pursuing careers involving forestry and other natural resources. Students will participate in fieldwork and learn about educational requirements, employment and career opportunities in forestry, water resources, and other related disciplines from teams of natural resource professionals.

While learning a lot about trees, forests and other natural resources, student will climb trees, learn to recognize nocturnal sounds, become better acquainted with the lives of birds, bats and bears, and generally have a great time.

The Washington County Forestry Board encourages any local high school student with an interest in natural resources to apply for NRCC. The Board provides a scholarship for each sponsored student so that they may attend the conference at no cost.

Applications for NRCC are submitted online and can be accessed at Or you can visit the Washington County Forestry board site The links are on our NRCC page. To speak with a forestry board representative about the program, email us at

Keep the cycle of natural resources knowledge going. Expose children early, and often —to the wonders and delights of our natural world. Pick up an acorn and put it in a pot. Watch it sprout and find a space where the tree can grow large. And encourage a high school student you know to consider attending this year's Natural Resources Careers Conference.

Celeste Maiorana is a member of the Washington County Forest Conservancy District Board. Visit the board's Web site at to learn more about forest communities and projects you can do.

The Herald-Mail Articles