The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
June 6, 2024

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders stands out as a prime prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft, and it’s no surprise he's the current favorite...

Forest Congress inspires future natural resources leaders

Forest+Congress+inspires+future+natural+resources+leaders
Collegian | Trin Bonner

The Women’s and Minoritized Genders’ Forest Congress is an annual gathering centered on minoritized genders in natural resource fields. According to the National Association of State Foresters, fewer than 20% of forestry employees are women.

The panel portion of the event featured Erika Lee, an instructor at the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education; Katelynn Martinez, director of operations and business development at OneCanopy; and Naomi Marcus, director of professional development at the Society of American Foresters.

Ad

During their conversation, Lee, Martinez and Marcus touched on how they came into their professions and burn out when working in the field. They also discussed the importance of taking risks in one’s career and how to improve inclusivity in the workplace.

“Having these events is really beneficial to create these spaces where women and nonbinary folks and people of minoritized genders can come together and talk about their experiences.” –Kristen Switzer, Colorado State Forest Service experiential learning specialist

“You can learn so much in the classroom, but you’ll learn so much more when you say, ‘yes,’” Martinez said.

In addition to the panel, the Forest Congress also hosted a networking opportunity for students to speak with each other as well as professionals in their desired field.

“It really helps me to meet women in the field that have jobs that I want to have some day because then I learn about what they’re doing and how they got there,” said Elle DeWaard, president of Minoritized Genders in Natural Resources and public relations representative of CSU’s Society of American Foresters Alpha Student Chapter.

Having events like the Forest Congress allows for the community of minoritized genders to strengthen within the Warner College of Natural Resources.

“Having these events is really beneficial to create these spaces where women and nonbinary folks and people of minoritized genders can come together and talk about their experiences,” said Kristen Switzer, an experiential learning specialist at the Colorado State Forest Service and co-adviser of Minoritized Genders in Natural Resources.

The event was a collaboration between the Women’s Outdoor Leadership Initiative, the Society of American Foresters, the Student Association for Fire Ecology, the Forest Congress and Minoritized Genders in Natural Resources. As the Minoritized Genders in Natural Resources organization is currently in the process of becoming an official CSU club, DeWaard described the motivation behind creating this group.

Our main goal is really to create an inclusive environment in Warner for everybody in natural resources,” DeWaard said.

In her male-dominated job as a forestry technician, DeWaard admitted that it can be intimidating when she is the only woman at work.

Ad

Forestry, specifically, and other natural resource fields are definitely predominantly male fields, and so it is kind of daunting to walk into a room and not feel like there’s other people representing you there,” DeWaard said.

Jamie Dahl, co-adviser of Minoritized Genders in Natural Resources and a CSU Natural Resources faculty member, said in addition to a lack of gender variation, fields like forestry also struggle with representing other kinds of minorities.

“We’re not the most diverse field in other ways too, like in race, ethnicity and ability use,” Dahl said. “I think we feel as women we want to call more attention to all of that.”

The positive effects of the Forest Congress can be seen as other places of inclusivity develop.

“The establishment of these kinds of groups and events also inspires other people to start working on making those spaces as well, so it’s like this really cool domino effect that’s been happening in the last few years,” Switzer said.

In terms of how to create a more equal ratio in natural resource fields of work, reflecting on flaws within the workplace is a good way to start.

“Different genders have different barriers and challenges with life and work, and so if we think about how the system might not support women as much, we can make it more welcoming for women in that space,” Dahl said.

Reach McKenna Van Voris at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @mckenna_vv.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *