Hometown: Evening Shade
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.
WHAT DOES A FORESTER DO?
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.
A bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field such as natural resources, wildlife and agriculture.
► 9% projected job growth in Arkansas by 2028
► 170 annual projected job openings in Arkansas
High-end earners in Arkansas (top 10%) make
Mean wages in Arkansas
READY TO HIRE YOU
- Arkansas Department of Agriculture