Category: Alumni Stories

Marjorie Ely – 2005, Project Manager, PlaNYC

Marjorie is now leading the day-to-day implementation of the Reforestation Initiative at NRG, including new capital contracting and an expanded NRG Forest Restoration Team. She comes to Natural Resources from Central Forestry, where she was the Street Trees Planting Manager for Manhattan with responsibility for planning, design and budgeting, as well as contract management.

Marjorie received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany and her master’s degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. Her past field experiences are highlighted by stints as a ranger in Yosemite National Park and work with the Peace Corps in Nepal.

Left to right: Marge Ely, Casey and Daniella (Zanin) Pereira

Sean Sobaski – 2010

Sean Sobaski has accepted a position as a a procurement forester with PCA (Packaging Corp of America) in Manistee, Michigan.

Sean says, “As a procurement forester at PCA we run a base mix of chips that consist of 70% aspen and 30% hardwood mix.” Sean also comment that because PCA is SFI and SAF accredited and audited, the jobs has witnessed lay rest to his fears that pulp mills take everything and leave nothing. “Most jobs I have been part of consist of TSI treatments, and result in a pristine harvest with reseeding of skid trails and landings after the harvest is complete,” he says.

Sean also praised his education saying, “Its hard to see the knowledge that is needed in this profession when you are attending school, but it’s very rewarding as a forester stick out above the crowd and receive a job such as this!”

“Best Forestry School in the Country”

A message to Dean Gale.
I thought your “Message from the Dean” in the current issue of the SFRES magazine was right on the money.

Speaking as an educator, you posed the question ”Are we providing students with the knowledge base they’ll need to address new issues that go beyond what they learned in their formal education?” My own career experience illustrates the importance of being able to do just that, and your recognition of the importance of this key issue speaks well for your program.

I had a 34 year career with the Bureau of Land Management primarily in western Oregon. Michigan Tech prepared me well for my early experiences, once I got used to the differences in scale. I still remember putting in a cluster of inventory plots in a 800-year old stand of Douglas-fir, and cruising a stand of timber on a beautiful riverside terrace that averaged 220,000 board feet per acre. But as my career evolved, I quickly got involved in issues that did indeed go far beyond my formal education.

For most of the latter half of my career, I was the BLM’s Chief of Forestry Planning with responsibilities covering 3,000,000 acres of forest land in Oregon and Washington. These responsibilities included forest inventory, the determination of the sustainable allowable harvest level and oversight of the program to bring that level of timber production to market, and the integration of the forestry program within the land-use planning process.

Early on, the process was relatively simple, and I was guided by the principles and philosophies I learned under Gene Hesterberg, Vern Johnson, and Eric Bourdo in old Hubbell School. Very quickly, however, it became necessary to “go beyond” as you suggest.

One of the first things I had to deal with in this context was the integration of management considerations related to anadromous fisheries. The spawning and rearing streams that salmon and steelhead depended upon were intimately associated with some of our finest timber producing lands. Some of the interactions between fish and timber production were quite subtle, in that relatively minute changes in water temperatures or quality, or the timing or magnitude of stream flows, could have drastic effects on fish production.

Furthermore, it quickly became apparent that the Douglas-fir old-growth seral stage itself was quickly becoming an endangered and scarce resource that needed special handling and management. Hundreds of wildlife species were uniquely dependent upon it, not to mention its importance in more esoteric areas like carbon sequestration and as refugia for mychorrizal fungi.

The point I’m trying to make is that my career quickly moved beyond the specifics I learned in my formal education, but I was able to traverse uncharted waters because of the sound knowledge base and the integrative attitude and adaptive capabilities I acquired at Michigan Tech.

That’s why it is so heartening to read your message. You’ve got the best forestry school in the country on the right trail, Peg. Keep on chuggin’.

Ron Sadler

Ron Sadler – 1957

Congratulations to the Class of 1961 on their 50th anniversary!

Many of the class members followed the trail first blazed by the Class of ’57 to work for the Bureau of Land Management in Western Oregon.  There may have been others, but the ones I’m personally familiar with include Leon Kabat, Elaine Mosher, Sarge Preston, Fred Pastori, and George Walimaa.

I spent 11 years as the BLM’s Chief of Forestry Planning.  During that time, it was my extreme good fortune to have Sarge Preston as my right-hand man.  Sarge was in charge of the forest inventory program including all aspects from field work to data analysis.  He made thousands of analytical allowable cut runs during this era when it required feeding a computer large boxes of punch cards.

The Class of ’61 provided yet another example of how well the training and professionalism received at da Tech transfered to the Douglas-fir forests of Oregon.

Ron Sadler

Summer Camp Memories: Doug Davies – 1969

Great piece on the summer/fall camps in the Fall 2009 issue of the FRES newsletter.  I read it with a constant grin on my face remembering the summer of 1968 when I attended camp.  I just missed the Alberta experience as it was held on campus that year.

Many of our classes were held in the old Hubbell building.  And yes, we had Gene Hesterberg, Bob Sajdak, Mike Coffman, Norm Sloan, Hammer Steinhilb and others as instructors and Glenn Mroz drove the bus. You’ve come a long way, Glenn!  We also had a couple of women at our camp.  It took Summer Camp  for one of them to realize she was claustrophobic when she went in the bush.  She switched to biology the very next term .

That camp produced some of the very best times I had while at Tech.  I learned more doing those “hands-on” exercises than I would have spending twice the number of hours in a classroom.  The experience of the instructors was invaluable and served me well throughout my entire forestry career.  I had occasion to work with people who had graduated from other forestry schools that didn’t have a camp and I can tell you that their lack of practical knowledge was very obvious.  I had to actually teach a couple of them how to run a compass!!

I can still hear Vern Johnson speaking that famous phrase “C’est la vie” although he pronounced it “Sell a vee” which gave rise to the phrase coined by the students “If you can’t sell a W, sell a V”.  Thanks much for including that piece in the newsletter.

Why I came to Tech: John DePuydt – 1971

During spring break of my senior year (1967) of high school, my Dad, my cousin Chuck (his company sold hockey equipment to John MacInnes and Michigan Tech hockey), and I drove up to Tech from the Detroit area for a visit. I had been accepted at Tech already and I wanted to see what I was getting into.  I chose Tech because I wanted to play hockey (I played on the Freshmen team) and to go into Forestry, and to get into some of the great hunting that was talked about up here.

While we were visiting, we got a chance to go to the Forestry building (Hubbell School) and meet Dr. Hesterberg.  Upon meeting Dr. Hesterberg (he insisted we call him Gene) and seeing a mounted Ruffed Grouse on his desk I knew I was in the correct place!  My classmates and I were the first freshman class in the new building. We were also the first class to have Summer Camp on campus.

After I graduated I never left the area and have been here for 44 years!  Incidentally, my parents moved the entire family up here just before I graduated.  My brother, Drew, was at Tech with me and he graduated in 1973, and the DePuydt name has been a stable name in the Copper Country for many years and many more years to come!

Why I came to Tech: Tom Cieslinski – 1963

I had never heard of the Michigan College of Mining and Technology until receiving the offer of a $100 scholarship in the spring of 1959 to attend the Soo Branch. That was a good sum of money at the time. Three of my classmates had received the same offer and accepted so I decided to join them, and quickly picked Forestry as my major.

Coming from a poor family with little money, I hoarded the few dollars earned from paper route and grocery store jobs and headed north with my father and a promise from a very benevolent aunt to pay for tuition and other expenses. My first quarter was extremely difficult with 5 Cs and a D. A very understanding and compassionate Algebra professor straighted me out in the second quarter (stop playing card games!). From then on my grades improved every year culminating with graduation with honors in 1963.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the Soo and Houghton campuses, summer camp at the Ford Forestry Center, the campus food (generally better than what I got at home), and finally the 9 hole golf course the last quarter of my senior year (hitch-hiked as I had no car). I participated in seven intramural sports as well as winter statue construction.

The course work was very hard for me, not being the brightest bulb, but I made it. I am extremely grateful to the college, to the Forestry staff at both campuses, and especially to my aunt who came through on her promise. My aunt was a hoarder and saved all the letters I mailed her from both campuses, the summer camp, and my Forest Service internship in the Rio Grande National Forest the summer of 1962.

Again, thank you everyone.

—Tom Cieslinski