City Trees

May/June 2013

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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Page 25 of 39

R O U N D T A B L E Urban Foresters, Teaching Being an adjunct isn't for everyone. You can't just step into a phone booth as Clark Kent and come out dressed in a tweed jacket as Professor Kent. It is a lot of hard work and the pay is much less than full time professors, usually with no benefits. It requires time management, organizational, and communication skills that I needed to improve to be successful. My course requires a class project that encourages community involvement such as planting trees, developing reforestation plans for parks, or establishing a wetland. I also give extra credit for students who volunteer for environmental restoration or beautification projects. Educating and mentoring students can be very rewarding and is an excellent way to serve the community. —Dave Gamstetter, Natural Resource Manager, Cincinnati Park Board, Cincinnati, Ohio I also learned early "Teaching at MFI is mostly about sharing what I've experienced and how those experiences can help my colleagues so maybe they don't have to trip over the same things that I did. I've always enjoyed how teaching keeps me involved in the industry as well as in touch with other people around the country. Every year I learn so much from the people that attend." —Walt Warriner, City of Santa Monica (ret.) Early in my career I realized that education is a critical function of the urban forestry profession. As the natural resource manager for the Cincinnati Park Board, I know that educating citizens, contractors, and politicians is a major component of program success. Trees are vital to our communities and yet they are widely misunderstood and underappreciated. Educating people about the value and benefits of trees became a natural extension of my professional role. The University of Cincinnati is the second largest university in Ohio and its College of Design, Art, Architecture, Art and Planning houses the Horticulture Department. I have been an adjunct professor for 15 years, teaching a class on urban forestry, and have enjoyed every minute of it. It is a fun side job that has made me a better manager, communicator, and professional by keeping my skills sharp, improving my knowledge base, and continuing to learn from students and other faculty. 26 in my career as an urban forester that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to be a teacher. Too many of the people I dealt with didn't understand or appreciate trees, and urban forestry seemed like an oxymoron to far too many people. The green industry people I met often meant well, but many of them lacked practical urban forestry knowledge. Hence, I became an educator. I began by teaching courses for my local ISA chapter, state urban forestry council, and eventually SMA. After 20 years teaching adults, I was invited by Oregon State University (OSU) to become an affiliate faculty member and make occasional guest lectures in forestry and horticulture courses. A couple of successful one-credit seminar courses followed, and eventually I was asked to develop an online introductory urban forestry course for OSU's Extended Campus (or Ecampus) program. That led to an advanced urban forest planning policy and management class and an arboriculture class—again online. Today, we offer a BS in Natural Resources with an Urban Forest Landscapes option—with all courses online. In the past four years I've taught almost 300 students in most U.S. states and Canadian provinces as well as students in Scotland, Brazil, Ecuador, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, and even a U.S. soldier stationed in Afghanistan. I suppose I was as skeptical as anyone at first when thinking about offering entire college courses City Trees

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