As part of the mission to meet educational needs of the community, Grays Harbor College offers programs that correspond to today’s job market. One example of this responsiveness is the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Forest Resources Management (BAS-FRM) program. Thanks to small class sizes, hands-on experience with industry leaders, and knowledgeable instructors,

GHC Forestry
Active teaching takes place in the classroom and in the field during the BAS-FRM program. Photo courtesy: Todd Bates

Founded in the booms days of early logging and steeped in the history of forestry, the College offers a connection with the industry that has staff and students excited for the new degree. Students are enrolling from Grays Harbor County and beyond, proving the interest in the industry is there. GHC has long offered an Associate degree in the Natural Resources field, but with an addition of the BAS-FRM, the small cohort of students has added new interest to the region.

 

Local employers in the industry say they need well-trained foresters and the addition of the BAS-FRM aims to fill that need. Logging companies, local tribes and the Forest Service are providing opportunities for students. In addition, the Department of Natural Resources offices in Forks and Olympia are working with GHC on field trips onto those lands.

Alex Bastos recently joined the GHC faculty as the primary instructor in the new BAS-FRM program. Talented and inspiring, his dedication to forests is apparent as he talks about the program. He has studied forests of the Amazon and in Japan and is now sharing his expertise as an internationally educated forester, teaching GHC students in the shadow of the renowned Olympic Rain Forest.

Grays Harbor College Forestry Managmnet
Alex Bastos came to Grays Harbor College specifically to head up the BAS-FRM program. Photo credit: Douglas Scott

Bastos comes to Grays Harbor via California where he and his wife were living when he learned of the new BAS program at GHC. He was a forest engineer in Manaus, capital city of the Amazon state of his native Brazil, leaving there to obtain his master and doctorate degrees at Kyoto University in Japan, where he studied and worked for more than five years.

Grays Harbor Forestry degree
Learning the unique needs of local forests makes graduates highly employable in our local forestry industry. Photo courtesy: Todd Bates

“Washington State is famous for its forests and I knew teaching here would be an interesting opportunity,” Alex shares. “I like being outside, doing the field work of forestry outdoors, in the rain or not­ – I just appreciate nature. In forestry now, we are educated to know what is going on with the environment and ecology. We can make this a better world if we face some of these issues.”

Alex continues, “Jobs in forests are not what they used to be. The market demands more education for employees, particularly knowledge that addresses the environmental problems. Employers need better prepared people to hire.”

 

The skills students will gain in the BAS-FRM program are far reaching and are inclusive of changes happening in the industry. Educating students on issues like land management, conflict resolution, restoration and leadership, the College will help graduates obtain jobs and advance within the new image of forestry.

The BAS-FRM program is organized in a “2+2 format.”  Students who have earned their Associate degrees in Natural Resources will fit perfectly with the new Forestry Resource Management program, with the first two years providing a foundation for the bachelors degree  coursework. The desire and demand for skilled, educated workers is high and many students may find themselves working in the field with an internship or paid job while still in school.

GHC Forestry program
Trees – really big trees – can be found and studied by students throughout Grays Harbor County. Photo courtesy: Todd Bates

The days of predatory logging are over, replaced with technological training using modern equipment, including drones. The modern forester will blend technology with precision in forestry practices, something the GHC program will address. The BAS-FRM program encourages research and scientific analysis through field experiences with members of the industry and fosters critical thinking and skills gained in small classes.

GHC accepts students each quarter. Those interested in the Bachelor of Applied Science in Forest Resources Management program should contact Katie Dailey at 360-538-4030, katie.dailey@ghc.edu.

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