Mike Dockry

USDA Forest Service Liaison to College of Menominee Nation

BS Forest Science & Certificate in Environmental Studies, MS Natural Resources, PhD Forestry & Certificate in Culture History and Environment


What attracted you to your chosen field?

I have always liked to be in the forest and wanted to study how forests worked ecologically. I thought that the study of Forestry would give me the background to truly understand forest ecosystems, and I was right. I have been able to study, work and learn about different forest ecosystems around the country and world.

What do you like best about the field?

People! I promote the idea that people are a part of ecological processes. I promote community planning and management of their natural resources. It is very rewarding to facilitate projects where people are able to learn and become involved in forest management.

What are some personal challenges you have faced in your field?

The main challenge is to help people understand that they are part of ecological processes. American Indian communities have believed this for thousands of years, but it is an idea that is just starting to be realized by other segments of society.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

Forestry is very exciting right now for many reasons. We are beginning to look to sustainable forest management to provide energy, sustainable building supplies, sequester carbon, and revitalize local economies. There are many employees in the USDA Forest Service that will be retiring in the next few years and there are a lot of opportunities for employment. I believe that this is true for State and County foresters too.

What things can students do to prepare for a career in this field?

My advice is twofold. First, I would stress the importance of communication skills. Written and oral communication skills are the key for 21 century forestry professionals. Foresters today need to use communication to facilitate stainable forestry projects by involving many different people, communities, and scientists. Second, I would encourage students to get involved in a meaningful internship. Internships provide the opportunity to use what you are learning in classes. They also allow you to interact with different professionals in the field.