Human Dimension of Forestry and Natural Resources is a new forestry course in the University of Kentucky curriculum for forestry major seniors.
Billy Thomas, UK Extension instructor for the course, says he and co-instructor Laura Lhotka have changed their approach to the class to provide a service component, expose the students to real world forestry and natural resource issues with strong human elements, and also make them aware of ongoing projects in Kentucky. In addition, they believe the exercise of working with different partners will be extremely beneficial to their future careers and help them develop into more well-rounded professionals.
In preparation students, divided into four separate groups, conducted preliminary research on their group’s Project Paper to “identify the problems/challenges” faced by an assigned real partner representative for whom that group works. KWOA is one of the organizations participating in a student group project. Students were tasked with assisting KWOA in promoting sustainable forest management in Kentucky and growing its membership.
Students used the TELE approach (Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively) Engagement Guide prepared by the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative* that aims to gain and disseminate comprehensive knowledge about family forest owners.
* The Sustaining Family Forests Initiative is a collaboration between the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Nonprofit Strategies.
The student team – Jacob Murray, Sarah Hays, Steven Bloom and Calvin Hornung -submitted their project at the end of the 2019 fall semester. It focused on obtaining new KWOA members and increasing funding. it also identified two audience segments that KWOA leadership has often wanted to target: elderly landowners and their younger family members.