MEET THE PRO: Nikki Davis, Forester

By Arkansas Next on Thursday, September 15, 2022

Jacob Slaton

Hometown: Evening Shade

Age: 30

Where I Trained: Arkansas State University 

What I Earned: Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management & Ecology

Job Title: Forester

Employer: Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division

Nikki was a wildlife biologist for seven years before getting involved in forestry work. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to be a biologist, but never knew how competitive the field is. Since graduating from college, she’s held five temporary wildlife technician positions in five different states. After accepting a full-time biologist position with a private consulting firm in Kentucky, Nikki realized her life revolved around her wildlife career. Wanting an opportunity to get back to her roots, she took a forestry job with the Arkansas Forestry Division. 

“The Arkansas Forestry Division was trying something new at the time as well,” Nikki said. “[They] decided to [consider] applicants with forestry-related experience and degrees in wildlife and natural resources. This opened the door for me to apply and the rest is history.”

Nikki is responsible for supervising a small crew of rangers over five counties in northeast Arkansas. She’s worked with the forestry division for a little over a year, and the crew she supervises has an average of 10-plus years on the job. She believes it takes a certain kind of supervisor to take a step back in order to listen and learn from a crew that has more experience.

Her main responsibility involves wildfire response and helping landowners within her area make management decisions regarding their forest land. She works closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help landowners implement forestry practices under various conservation programs. 

Jacob Slaton


Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands and other natural resources. Foresters work specifically with landowners and evaluate the property and prepare timber management plans with recommendations for enhancing timber production, soil conservation, disease and insect control and landowners’ objectives.  

Education needed: 

A bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field such as natural resources, wildlife and agriculture.

Job Outlook

► 9% projected job growth in Arkansas by 2028

170 annual projected job openings in Arkansas

This option is for you if

  • You're a strong communicator
  • You want your work days to be exciting and different
  • You love being in the great outdoors
  • You take safety seriously
  • You care about animals and wildlife

High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make

Mean wages in Arkansas
$58,080 Annual
$25.68 Hourly


  • Arkansas Department of Agriculture