Forestry Technicians Tim Parry and Nick Randall were both hired in 2020 as the newest members of the Forestry Office at the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch (NRB).The forestry program at Fort McCoy covers tens of thousands of acres of forested land. Fort McCoy Forester Charles Mentzel said the mission of the forestry program plays an important role at the installation.“From a forestry perspective, our mission here, first and foremost, is to serve the Army and create training environments that better serve our Soldiers who support future missions in defense of this country,” Mentzel said. “By thinning trees, for example, the ones left will grow larger faster. This gives troops overhead cover and again allows for better maneuver space.In doing their duties, both Randall and Parry must help determine timber harvests, mark boundaries and trees for harvest, support the delivery of timber sale contracts, assist with appraising the value of timber products, inspect harvest activities, and much more.Parry said he is looking forward to everything his job entails.“I’m really looking forward to creating and managing Fort McCoy’s forests for not just the military, but wildlife, too,” said Parry, who’s lived in Seattle and Menomonee Falls, Wis. “I’d also like to become more involved with the prescribed burns and possibly wildfires that occur on Fort McCoy.”Parry said he also likes the part about the job where he gets to work outdoors.“My main office isn’t in a building — it’s half-mile back in the woods,” Parry said. “I also really enjoy the impact my job has on the landscape, ecosystem, and habitats. Knowing that my job is benefiting all aspects of natural resources, it’s a rewarding field to be in. Exploring all the good hunting spots is a bonus too.”Randall said he’s looking forward to spending a lot of days setting up timber sales to meet the military’s goals and to manage for future timber value and wildlife when possible.“I am fresh out of college, so I look forward to getting more experience and using what I have learned at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and working summer jobs from different agencies. I am also looking forward to getting more prescribed burn experience and training to help maintain training areas.”Like Parry, Randall said he is looking forward to a career in forestry.“In this field, I get to manage some forests and trees that will be around a lot longer than I will be, and I like to think, at the end of the day, I am making it a lot better place. And, also, these forest lands will be used for generations of training, wildlife, and recreating,” said Randall, a native of New Berlin, Wis. “Every day is a little different . … I also like to think that not a lot of people can say their ‘office’ is out in the woods.”Working with Mentzel and others in NRB, both Parry and Randall will be around some very experienced people who are fisheries and wildlife biologists, archaeologists, and more. They both hope to use that experience to their advantage.“When I went to school and at my other summer jobs, a lot of the people I worked with were foresters, and we only really cared about forestry” Randall said. “I think it’s nice to have the different programs like we have in the NRB because you get to see what other people are doing, and if you notice something or have a questions, you can just hop on down to the next cubicle and ask instead of trying to look it up online. Another nice thing is that, for the most part, everyone on our side of the office went to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, so we have a similar background in education.”Parry said he wants to learn as much as he can from everyone around him.“The fact that everyone on the team has so much experience just gives me the best opportunity to learn from them,” Parry said. “Not only will I be learning about forestry, but also wildlife, invasive species, fisheries, archaeology, and how they all interact with each other. I think the best part is that I’ll be able to get some hands-on experience in many of the different fields.”Both of the technicians said they look forward to making a difference through forestry because they know how important it is to having healthy forests on post as well as excellent training areas.“Forestry is definitely important,” Parry said. “Trees and forest land provide so many services, many of which are overlooked or not even appreciated. Many people see forestry as just cutting and removing trees. In reality, our goals are to improve the health and quality of trees, forests, and more.”“I believe forest management is important for not just timber value and wildlife, but also for the overall health of the forest,” Randall said. “Helping slow down the spread of disease and preventing the buildup of insects are examples of good management practices. Also, as there are ranges of diseases, insects, and invasive species around affecting forests, we must always stay vigilant to help prevent the spread of them and manage for diversity and the future.”Mentzel said he believes the new technicians will do well at Fort McCoy.“While it is a challenge working with one new employee, two is even more challenging,” Mentzel said. “However, it is great working with two enthusiastic and intelligent recently college-educated guys. They have been learning quickly picking up the job duties.I have been enjoying every day with them.”Learn more about Fort McCoy online at www.mccoy.army.mil, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”(The Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch contributed to this article.)