ALBANY — New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball today highlighted the success of the first-ever “Into the Woods” Forestry Camp held at the Oswegatchie Educational Center in Croghan, New York. Sponsored by the New York State Wood Products Development Council, in coordination with the New York State Future Farmers of America Leadership Training Foundation, the New York Forest Owners Association and several private partners, the sold-out camp introduced high school students to career opportunities in the forestry and wood products industry and advanced the State’s efforts to support agricultural education programs.
“I’m proud to announce the success of this program, which provides exceptional hands-on educational opportunities for our students, while connecting our young people with forestry and wood product professionals and opening new career pathways for the next generation,” Commissioner Ball said.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “DEC is a proud partner of the state’s Wood Products Development Council and strongly supports educational programs that motivate young people to roll up their sleeves and get involved in forestry. This program helps participants learn first-hand about the career opportunities available in the forest products industry and contributes to their appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits that can be experienced through a forestry career.”
Students with an interest in forestry careers participated in the free, three-day training, where they learned about the basics of forestry management and timber production. The camp included hands-on workshops, conducted by public and private industry representatives, including employees of Hud-son Forestry Equipment, LandVest, Baillie Lumber, Lewis County BOCES and SUNY-ESF Ranger School in Wanakena.Students learned about sawmill operation, safety practices, arboriculture, and wood product marketing, team-building and leadership skills. Thegroup also toured the Johnson Lumber Company.
NY FFA Foundation Executive Director Todd Lighthall said, “The New York FFA Foundation, Inc. is proud to offer this forestry training program at our 1,200-acre Adirondack facility at Oswegatchie Educational Center. The “Into the Woods” program is providing our youth access to professionals currently working in the wood products/forestry industries. Over the course of two days, students have had real experiences around operating equipment, safety and maintenance presentations, and professional advice on what it takes to be an effective employee in the industry.”
New York’s forestry and wood products industry continues to be a major contributor to the State’s economy and a viable career choice. It generates $13.1 billion in direct output and provides more than 41,000 jobs with an annual labor income per worker of over $61,000.
Empire State Forest Products Association Executive Director John Bartow said, “We are honored to partner with the New York State Wood Products Development Council and several of our industry-member companies on the first “Into the Woods Forestry Camp” and we are encouraged to see the many young adults who participated. Presenting to our youth the many jobs and career opportunities in New York’s forests and wood products industry is an essential part of the future of our industry in New York State. There are great opportunities for careers in our sector, and too often our youth do not know that they exist or understand the diversity of opportunities that are available. There are traditional careers in the woods and an ever-increasing number of very technical, scientific and engineering opportunities. Today’s forests and wood product related jobs can be very satisfying and offer career mobility to those who are interested.”
NYFOA President Art Wagner, said, “The New York Forest Owners Association fully supports the NYS Wood Products Development Council’s program “Into the Woods: Forestry Training at Oswegatchie.” Training students about the basics of forestry management and timber production is essential to ensure that our forests will continue to be well managed and well maintained, far into the future. This educational opportunity for students will last a lifetime and our forests will continue to provide the full scope of environmental benefits for all. NYFOA looks forward to continued success and ongoing programs that will train students for a bright future in forestry related industries.”
The “Into the Woods” camp builds upon the State’s Wood Products and Forestry Summit held last fall and fulfills the State’s promise to support the industry through education, increased investment, and connection to new markets. It also advances the State’s support of agricultural education programs.
New York has committed a record $3.6 million in recent years for agricultural education programs, including adding new FFA chapters, working towards doubling the number of certified agricultural educators across the State.
About the NYS Wood Products Development Council
The Wood Products Development Council works to develop strategies to improve the business climate for New York State’s forest products industry and to facilitate the development of expanded and new markets for the state’s high-quality wood products. The group is made up of representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development and industry partners. For more information, please visit the Wood Products Development Council website.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
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