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RMC Media Team, 406.657.1105, media@rocky.edu 

Cruising timber teaches land management to RMC intern 

BILLINGS, June 5, 2014 – Brent Brumfield (’16) of Calistoga, Calif., is navigating forested ridges and valleys each day along the Beartooth front west of Red Lodge, Mont. He interns in the office of Brad Shoemaker, southern land office forester for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), learning management methods and practices of maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem.

According to the environmental assessment for the Palisades timber sale where Brumfield is working, the DNRC balances its fiduciary responsibilities to generate sustainable school trust land income with its stewardship responsibilities to promote biodiversity and protect the future income-generating capacity of state lands. 

Brumfield’s charge is to learn perspectives on how to manage healthy and biologically diverse forests. He is an environmental management and policy major at RMC.

While he marks timber, Brumfield is learning “how fire, flood, and drought affect the health and sustainability of forests, and how decisions are made [whether and how] to harvest which stands of timber.” He is also working with private landowners for easements to access parcels of state land surrounded by private lands.

Brumfield is also interning to help ensure that contractors’ timber harvest and parcel rehabilitation follow DNRC plans prepared for those state lands. 

Predictably, Brumfield most enjoys “hiking around the Beartooths in isolated areas because it is peaceful and some of the best views of Montana I have seen.” He said he is growing in understanding of how forest, wetlands, and rangelands interact to create the Montana backcountry. 

The field internship builds on his RMC coursework in Sustainable Communities, Energy and Society, Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Field Survey Techniques in Zoology, and Wetlands and Riparian Ecology. 

While he likes “knowing that the sale of the [school trust land] lumber will benefit Montana schools and Montanans,” Brumfield hopes to someday start a non-profit for the conservation of and rehabilitation of Montana's wetlands. 

He plans a career working for a federal/state/local government agency as a wildlife or environment manager and to “start my non-profit on the side.”  

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