The Department of Natural Resource Conservation's undergraduate program in Forest Ecology and Conservation was recently re-accredited by the national Society of American Foresters (SAF) , following a three-day visit by a review team in April and review of the Self-evaluation report prepared by the forestry faculty. The undergraduate forestry program has been accredited by SAF since 1950, and is reviewed for re-accreditation on a ten-year basis. The UMass undergraduate program is one of only three accredited by the SAF in New England (along with UNH and the University of Maine), and leads to a professional forestry degree required for professional forestry licensure in many states.
Since Massachusetts is the third most densely populated state in the nation, it is important for foresters to have good "people skills". The SAF reported: " the degree to which human dimensions and communication are incorporated into the professional courses is commendable. Student interviews indicated they understood and appreciated the value and need for these skills, and employers indicated a high degree of satisfaction in the ability of graduates to communicate effectively." In addition to being a densely populated region, Massachusetts is the 8th most forested state in the nation by land use. According to the SAF report: "The wide variety of managed forests within 30-45 minutes of campus provides ample opportunities for students to gain hands-on work and demonstrate proficiency of content and skills in a field setting. Finally, students gain leadership skills through work in team situations and professional ethics are covered in a variety of ways throughout courses from 200-level through the capstone."
Overall, the undergraduate forestry program received high marks from the SAF: "The forestry faculty are commended for maintaining a high quality program. Producing professional foresters with highly effective communication skills is particularly noteworthy. The Self Evaluation Report and the on-site visit were well organized and reflect the professionalism with which the program is implemented."
More information on the undergraduate program in Forest Ecology and Conservation, and the Department of Natural Resources Conservation can be found here: http://eco.umass.edu/