SAU Tech Offers Drone Class To Timber Workers

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 — By BRADLY GILL

In late January of this year, SAU Tech was approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to begin offering a degree in forestry harvesting. Since that time, students at SAU Tech have had a chance to receive hands-on experience in the timber industry.

“This is a completely new class that SAU Tech has launched,” said Instructor Danny Glaze. “What this is (is a chance) for us to give youngsters an opportunity to come in and in a two year time frame be eligible to go out and work for industry or even state governments that have forestry programs that need technical assistance to their foresters that are on staff.”

Glaze – who has 42 years of experience in the timber industry – said the program is also designed to transfer credits if students wish to go to a four year program such as the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s forestry program.

“We actually carry them out into the field a lot,” he said. “We’re trying to basically fast forward to where these guys are ready to go to work. … The forestry industry has changed so much in the last 15 years, we’re a heavily driven technology based industry.”

Global Positioning Systems and Global Imaging Systems play heavy roles in the forestry occupations of today, Glaze stated. Surveying has also changed drastically with the implementation of drones. Glaze added that some jobs require a drone license and the wages go as high as five figures.

SAU Tech’s website states:

“The Associate of Applied Science in Forestry Harvesting provides students with hands-on skills needed in order to fill the job openings for harvesting technicians in the forestry industry. The program is designed for individuals with the desire for working different types of trees and logs; reading maps; leaning cruising timber methods and logging road layouts, and other numerous kills related to the logging industry.

“Students in this program will spend time on field trips to timber property where they will carry out actual activities that one day they will do on the job as a forest technician.”

The website states that graduates of the forestry program will be able to do the following:

• Identify tree species and the products and value that can be derived from each.

• Use legal descriptions to find tracts of timber and roughly survey and replace missing lines.

• Understand the different combinations of logging equipment making up a logging job and match the job to the tract being logged.

• Understand the wood supply chain and be able to compete in the wood procurement process.

• Know the markets for forest products and how to maximize the value from each tree being harvested.

• Be able to lay out logging roads, harvest tracts according to Arkansas’s Forestry Best Management Practices, and keep safety a priority on the job.

• Know the use of forestry tools and their use in cruising for estimates of value on a standing tract of timber.”