More than just the woods: Matt Brantley

Matt Brantley chose to earn his Masters of Forestry and Master of Environmental Management degrees at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment for a few reasons, but the primary one was the Duke Forest. He saw the value of having a forest close to campus that would be integrated into the curriculum and that offered opportunities to apply what he was learning in class by working alongside the forest’s staff. Brantley has been a valuable part of the Duke Forest team over the last two and a half years, first as a graduate student assistant and then as an operations intern.

For Brantley, working in the Duke Forest directly enhanced his forestry education. “It made concepts like basal area real and tangible,” he said, and it exposed him to all facets of managing a multiple-use forest resource. He supported road and trail maintenance, guided teaching uses, managed invasive species, assisted in programs for wildlife management, helped out on volunteer workdays, and maintained citizen science infrastructure.

In the job search, Brantley noted that his time with Duke Forest set him apart from his peers, “Many employers want recent grads to have some applied, technical experience.” He added, “The one to five year experience range is so important in the timber job market.” We are very excited for Matt and his wife Lauren, who will soon move to Eugene, OR, where Matt will begin his forestry career as a Forest Engineering Specialist for Weyerhaeuser.

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