Daniel Cassidy

Program Specialist for Forest Management, Forest Research, and Rangelands and Grasslands Ecosystem Services with the USDA; Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

B.S. (Forestry-Environmental Conservation), M.S. (Forestry-Forest Policy), and Ph.D. (Natural Resources-Silviculture)

 

What attracted you to your chosen field?

I developed a strong land ethic from an early age. There is so much our society can gain, utilize, and enhance sustainably if we work together to meet our diverse needs and desires. Helping move ourselves towards this future is a challenge that draws me in every day.

What do you like best about the field?

It is dynamic and ever changing. Natural resource management touches so many aspects of our daily lives and a good deal of the time that goes unnoticed. Resource managers are examining how to improve our physical and spiritual health; trying to assist in improving national security and economy by producing cellulosic ethanol; determining how to successfully produce the needed paper and wood products while maintaining healthy wildlife populations and providing recreational opportunities. There is never a boring moment if you just take the time to look around.

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

Change happens slowly and the process can be painful sometimes. One person can not solve an issue in a vacuum so taking the time to build support and collaboration is essential in natural resource management. However, there is often a large amount of work that goes into building these coalitions and many stumbling blocks can be in the way. Learning to work in this manner can be a very challenging but rewarding opportunity.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

Boundless opportunity. We are facing so many challenges to understand ecosystem services, cellulosic ethanol, bioenergy, the "green economy", and social impacts from natural resource management. The future is bright for new thinking and approaches to traditional measures. I am excited to see what might come around the corner.

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

(Never be afraid to ask questions nor to stand up and take on a challenge. I have found that most of my valuable opportunities have grown from raising my hand and jumping in head-first.