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Living on Earth has some good episodes. For example they had a wonderful July 4 episode on Humba the mountain gorilla.

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I am studying forestry. I have always had a great connection to nature and so it seemed like a perfect career move. And so that is where my path has lead, or is leading.

The Pathways Program

The forest service doesn't usually offer internships itself. The Pathways Program is a student hire program. In January February there will be student positions flown on usajobs, they're part of the pathways program. I would also check the student conservation association or SCA that's probably your best bet to get into the door.

Apparently there are many more job openings than there are internships, and different forests will hire people without too much experience.

Go to the SAF convention. They hire people for internships on the spot.

There will be tons of companies there hiring and some really great talks etc. Your school might even pay for it. I know UF paid for me to go.

I have heard that the university of Montana in Missoula has some amazing forestry programs. You are also surrounded by national forest so a great place to study as well. I talked to them before I found the right fit for myself, the seasonal positions are the way to go since any internships are rare, and thus very competitive.

Charms of the forest

What To Expect

An entry level forestry position is often assisting a more experienced forester with their duties.

This can include being a chainman (also known as a compass man) while timber cruising, GPS'ing logging boundaries, and helping conduct various surveys. This work is often considered grunt work, and can be extremely physically demanding.

As you gain more experience, you'll start to decide what avenue of forestry you want to work in.

You can focus on the development side (pre-logging), silviculture (post-logging), or go a more research route.

Some jobs consist of all of the above.

As for a career; you can definitely make a living. If you are willing to educate yourself and take additional courses, this will make you more desirable and you'll inevitably be better compensated.

Moves are pretty common but usually only if you want to.

Some hires are put in temporary training locations based work load. They are then placed in a permanent location. Transferring is then up to the employee. Transfers are usually based on seniority. The DNR has hired a bunch of people the last few years. I've been in my original location for twenty years.

Working for the DNR is a great job when you are able to get it.


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There isn't much on this planet that is as majestic as a tree. And yet, even though they are so old, strong and yet easily hurt.

A neighbor of ours cut their apple tree back drastically, essentially forcing their tree into biannual bearing which means that it will only bare fruit every second year.

Biannual Bearing

Biannual bearing basically this means you've cut out to much energy from the tree last year so it's had to use all remaining energy to grow more branches to then reproduce fruit next year. Here is a good explaination on a UK site but the information is the same as here in the states.


You can prune it lightly in the off year to give your canopy structure and appropriate fruiting zones.

This might bring it back into balance without having to do some annoying pruning.

But be patient; it won't cause it to be a biennial. It might push it to skip a year. Trees are strong and most apple trees will likely respond reasonably well given the chance.

Give it a season to potentially recover before you decide to tear it out like our neighbors did this summer. If you pruned to hard it can be difficult to change a biannual tree back to normal.

For Consideration

  • How old is the tree?
  • How heavily did it flower this year vs last year?
    • If you've got no flowers that means no fruit.

  • Did you get an explosion of vegetative growth?
  • Have you had a look for fruit buds to count your fruiting potential?
  • Sadie
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    Pruning is a science al by itself, and while many people realize that, some just go about cutting things how they see fit. And unless they are trained, they will see their fruit disappear or their trees die.

    The rule of thumb is generally wait until late winter.

    If you really prune a fruit tree while it is in season you will regret it, unless your goal is to do it in. The reason is simple, all the sugars are high in the plant. By cutting the tree now you would essentially be getting rid of all of that food used during the winter. And with the sugar goes the well being of the plant.

    By waiting until winter you will allow the sugar to flow back to the roots.

    It will recover from pruning much better if you realize that in winter, the roots are growing underground like the top does in summer, because all that energy in those top leaves are what it eats all winter, and is what you are taking away so it will starve in the winter, and may even die.

    If you haven't taken care of a tree before I would recommend contacting somebody with experince for the initial work, then you can educate yourself and keep up with it in the future.

    The Rule of Thumb Suckers

    If you want to start with light pruning you can remove the suckers along the trunk. They are generally removed because they provide little added value for energy collectiong while taking too many nutrients away from your fruit.

    When you are pruning a fruit tree, keep your outside branches, think of pruning it into a bowl. By properly directing future growth with your cuts will influence the shape of the tree for years.

    And if you mess things up you may actually never get the chance to see it recover.

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    A saw chain is usually measured by pitch, gauge, and drive link (Part that sits in the groove of the guide bar/sprocket). The pitch is the space between each drive link, the gauge is the thickness of the drive link, and the number of drive links will usually tell you the length of the chain.

    And I will note that chains are not standard. What that means is that an 18" chain for an Echo, will not fit a STIHL. I know Poulan has about 2-3 different kind of 20" chains and different brands utilize different chains also. You can have the same pitch and gauge, but if the number of drive links are different, then it will be either too long, or too short.

    For smaller saws, it will usually have a 3/8" Picco pitch. (STIHL measurement), and a .43 or .50 gauge drive link.

    Mediums saws usually have .325 pitch and .50/.63 gauge.

    Bigger saws usually use 3/8" or .404 pitch. STIHL runs .63 gauge, unless Echo/Husqvarna/Poulan which are usually .50 gauge.

    What this all means is simply put, you can't have a .325 pitch chain on a 3/8" sprocket, or will keep jumping off. Also the gauge needs to be correct, or else it will not even fit on the bar.

    Most smaller to mid-size Poulans use 14"-18" bars, 3/8" P, .50 gauge. 14" would be 52 DL's, 16" would be 56 DL's, and 18" would be 62 DL's. You can any brand of chain, as long as those measurements match up.

    How do you find this all out? Research. Invest time into learning wha you model needs. If you look on the side of the bar, usually closer to the bar mount, it will have some numbers engraved/stamped. That usually will point you in the right direction.

    If not, you can remove your old chain and count the number of drive links, different companies have differnt links.

    The reason the drive links look different is because different manufacturers design them differently. STIHL chain has a ramp to deliver oil into the chain, Oregon might have a ramp/groove, but I'm not sure.

    This is all very important since safety is a concern. If you try and cobble together a saw from different parts from different manufacturers you will quickly see how bad of an idea it was. Much like Dr. Frankenstein you will understand why things are the way they are. In a best case scenerio the slop will quickly ruin both bar and chain.91 on the drive link would indicate 50 gauge but his is 90 chain(.043).

    Understand you tools. Everytime you are using them it is a matter of life and death no matter how well prepared you are.

    Minimize all risks as best you can or find somebody else that is more expeienced to opporate the chainsaw.

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    Deciduous Trees

    Because of that, the angle of the sun rays changes throughout the year. The Earth is both revolving around the Sun and rotating in its own axis.

    That means that in some portions of the year, the same geographical place receives different quantities and qualities of light.

    With the changes in temperature and the amount of light received throughout the day, deciduous trees know that winter is coming.

    They have evolved to respond to this by stopping the flow of nutrients and water to the leaves which causes them to wither and dry and fall to the ground. As the weather gets warmer more water becomes available for the tree, it can then resume growing leaves and obtaining nutrients again.

    Without this protective cycle they would continue pouring nutrients and what limited water there is in the ground into the leaves which would cause them to freeze. It's a bit like how your blood flow pulls away from your fingers and toes, causing them to get cold faster than the rest of your body when exposed to cold weather.

    The same thing happens here, but the process, while not alien has a slightly different execution.

    Conifers (Needle Bearing Trees)


    Conifers avoid having to lose their leaves by having their leaves grow hard and therefore aren't as easily affected by changes in temperature.

    Color Changes

    First, the leaves loose their green a the chlorophyll breaks down, then the yellow pigments, then the red ones. Only when there are no more pigmented cells left, can the leaf drops off and die.

    A leaf is in many ways like your skin. And like your skin the leaves are shed once they are no longer needed in much the same way you shed dead skin cells.


    Chlorophyll, the pigments that gives plants their distinctive green colour, is a molecule that absorbs sunlight and used that energy to make chemical reactions.

    Chlorophyll works better at certain wavelenghts. Trees have a lot of different pigments (color compounds for absorbing light) in their leaves, just like humans do. These pigments absorb different colors of light, but they also decay at different rates when the leaves die. When fall rolls around, the reason you see all those nifty color changes is because the cells in the leaf, with the different pigments, start to break down as we've learned.

    But there is another effect that we should look at.

    Other effect of differential radiation (quality of the light) is that the places with less sunlight become colder.

    Even though leaves can work in cold environments, the payout is minor (compared to a warmer environment), thus, the plant "decides" to turn off the photosynthetic system, move all its resources to storage and wait for everything to be better.