I didn’t even know that forestry was a thing until I was 18. . .
My great grandfather was a farmer in Alabama, but my middle class metro-Atlanta upbringing was a far cry from those agricultural roots. When I married my high school sweetheart and his parents sat me down to discuss wills and the way land would transfer through the generations, I knew I was in over my head. This cute boy that I was in love with had an interest in land that had been in the family for many generations, and they needed to plan for the next generation, too.
At the time, David (that cute boy) was in school to be an engineer. I was floating along in college without a direction, and when I started learning about the world of land ownership and forestry, I decided that someone in the younger generation should learn more so that we wouldn’t have to pay someone to manage the land when it was our turn. I looked into forestry schools in Georgia, and my new husband peeked over my shoulder. As I investigated prerequisite classes, David realized how uncomfortable he was with the prospect of sitting in an office for the rest of his engineering life. He changed his major and applied to Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and we moved to Athens. I stayed with my education major, but quizzed him for all his dendrology tests, helped him make flash cards, and was active with David in the Forestry Club. David worked in forest industry for the first 6 years of his career... and I learned more about the dynamics of sorting wood for the correct product, caring for the land and its roads and water sources, timber markets, and the logistics of how all these things come together.