Guest Blog by Loic Harousseau
My name is Loic Harousseau, and I am a senior at Auburn University pursuing a degree in forestry. I am originally from New York, but I was fortunate to grow up visiting a piece of family property in southwestern Georgia. Before I was born, my great uncle envisioned restoring the longleaf ecosystem on the property. Through my uncle’s efforts, he continued the restoration with a conservation easement. Because of this, I could fall in love with the longleaf pine and its ecosystem. This love for the ecosystem and guidance from a family friend is why I decided to pursue a career in forestry.
I learned a lot throughout my three-month internship with the GFC. I worked in Region 4 under Regional Forester Chad Pritchett, and with many foresters such as Philip Faulk and William Hill. My daily activities varied, but for the most part, I was working on cost-share programs all summer. The first month and a half of my internship mostly consisted of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollments. Due to a shortage of foresters in Region 4, I was immediately put to work certifying CRPs. Although a lot of the CRP work was urgent because of the end of June deadline, I learned what truly goes into CRP, and I was able to enjoy the qualification process for most stands of timber. Along with CRP enrollments, I worked with other foresters on Environmental Quality Incentives, Southern Pine Beetle, Invasive Plant Control, and Emergency Forestry Restoration cost share programs. I worked with the water quality specialist of the area, Bert Early, performing firebreak checks, and with Forest Health Specialist Mark McClure, checking and spraying cogongrass.
Ultimately, my summer was extremely busy! I built up about 120 cases in three months. I enjoyed it and learned what a GFC forester does daily.