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Saturday, 17 August 2013

August 17-- Five Southeastern Technical College students and one STC Board of Directors member received the designation “Master Timber Harvester” after completing a two-day logger education program in Swainsboro.

The Master Timber Harvester (MTH) program workshop led by Donna Gallaher, MTH coordinator from the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forest Resources. Thirty one people, including five STC Forest Technology students and STC Board of Directors and Forestry Advisory Committee member Andy Kimbell, attended the workshop.

The MTH program’s stated objective is “to foster improvement in the professionalism of wood producers.” The MTH event held in Swainsboro was one of four held throughout the year and across the state, a two-day “introductory workshop” that, upon completion, grants the participants an MTH designation that lasts two years.

“MTH loggers have improved opportunities to deliver wood to mills,” said John Thrift, forest technology instructor for Southeastern Tech. “The course is rigorous and includes instruction from top industry leaders from around the Southeast.  The students were grateful for the opportunity to learn from the professionals.”

Thrift’s five students attended the workshop with help from scholarships donated by a family on whose land the students performed forestry work as part of a lab exercise.

“The landowners were so pleased with their work, they donated the money,” said Thrift. “I was extremely encouraged the students decided to use the money to invest further into their professional development, not to mention they attended the workshop during summer break. We have high-quality students who are serious about a career in forestry, and that is an example of their commitment.”

The workshop attendees received an MTH designation, but they also took a step toward Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification. The SFI, according to Gallaher, is a forest and forest product certification program concerned with certifying and promoting sustainable practices in forestry, and the MTH workshop satisfies the “logger education” portion of certification.

“Forest product certification assures consumers that products come from sustainably managed forests,” said Gallaher. “Many SFI-program-participant forest product manufacturers have policies preferring to procure fiber from loggers who participate in a logger education program.”


 (L to R) John Thrift, Donna Gallaher, Forest Tech students Chris Mulrooney, Cody Johnson, Matt Snellgrove, David Pittman, and DW Lindsey and STC Board of Directors and Forestry Advisory Committee member Andy Kimbell

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