Foresters sought to work in Oklahoma woodlands

Oklahoma Forestry Services is trying to find foresters. Positions are open in four places statewide.
by Robert Medley Published: May 13, 2012

Fewer people these days seem to want to work in the Oklahoma woods.

The Oklahoma Forestry Services is struggling to fill job openings, forester George Geissler said.

The state has four positions for state foresters that have gone unfilled, even after nationwide advertising.

Forester positions are open in Jay, Oklahoma City, Sallisaw and Broken Bow.

“We're having issues staffing foresters across the state,” Geissler said.

Although Oklahoma may have an image as a prairie state, about 25 percent is woodlands, Geissler said.

Oklahoma's woodlands reach the eastern parts of central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, he said, so the work of a forester is not solely in the pine forests of southeast Oklahoma.

The central Oklahoma area — known as the wildland urban interface — has had problems with wildfires in wooded areas in recent years, Geissler said. Fires have burned in the Edmond, Choctaw, Harrah and southeast Oklahoma City areas.

Oklahoma State University offers a degree program in forestry, but the number of graduates has been down in recent years, Geissler said.

“We have not had much luck finding candidates,” he said.

The most recent hires for the state forestry services all have been from out of state, said Geissler, who earned his degree at Louisiana State University.

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by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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