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First steps towards working with trees

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From: Eric Baldazo
Chicago, IL
I have a bachelor of fine arts in media arts and animation. Before I graduated I realized I wanted to pursue a career involving the outdoors, specifically trees. Now I'm working full-time in the city with limited time and funds to embark on a new career path. Are there any programs near Chicago that would give me a good background in forestry and the experience to really find out if it's the right path for me? At the very least are there some good books you can recommend or online courses that could get me started? Thank you!

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Greetings Eric,

I'm not familiar with any pre-forestry or forestry curricula in the greater Chicago area as there are only two degree programs certified by the Society of American Foresters in the state of Illinois: Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

However, most public higher-ed institutions have curricula in botany, environmental science, soil science, plant biology, pathology, entomology, and even arboriculture/urban forestry - all of which are integral components within the broad field of a forestry-based curriculum.

There are some natural resources based degree programs that can be found online: University of Illinois, Oregon State University, University of Idaho, University of Tennessee at Martin, etc. I believe these higher-ed online programs offer BS/MS degrees and/or certificates.

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