The Pacific Forest Foundation is a 501 c3 charitable foundation and the education arm of the Pacific Logging Congress (PLC). A scholarship fund of $10,000 was set aside for the 2013-2014 college year and will be awarded to five worthy students pursing careers in the forest industry.
The five were selected from a field of 16 quality applicants, according to PLC Executive Director RikkiWellman. “These students are top notch,” she said, “and are very excited about furthering their education in our industry.” Each student will receive a $2,000 Pacific Forest Foundation scholarship. The recipients are:
19-year-old Bijan Sametz-Asgari will attend Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia. He will start this fall in the Forest Resources Technology program at the University. “I want to dedicate my life to doing work in an outdoor setting, starting with forestry,” Sametz-Asgarsaid.
Sametz-Asgari has volunteered with several conservation-related programs including the Sunshine Coast Bear Awareness Program, catch and relocate elk program, and at a local fish hatchery. The Forest Resources Technology program includes hands on outdoor learning in the Vancouver Island Forest, located 10 minutes from campus.
20-year-old Renee Womack of Priest River, Idaho will be attending University of Idaho to study in the Forestry Operations and Fire Management programs.
Womack worked with the Idaho Department of land during the 2012 fire season, and also was part of a fire fighting crew sent to Montana last summer. She will use her scholarship to cover tuition and fees at college.
University of Idaho offers a Bachelor of Science in Fire Ecology & Management and is one of three degree programs in the nation to focus on wild land fire. The program teaches fuels management, fire prevention, fire suppression, and fire management.
18-year-old Mychal Westendorf will attend Oregon State University (OSU) in his home-town of Corvallis, OR. He plans to pursue forestry and civil engineering.
He has been working with the OSU Vegetation Management Research Co-operative as a field and lab technician. The Research Co-op is part of the OSU Forestry Department.
Westendorf is also a member of the OSU Forestry Club and Logging Sports Team. He will use his scholarship for tuition and fees and other educational expenses.
17-year-old Nathaniel Melcher will also be attending Oregon State University and will study forestry and surveying. His family owns a tree farm and Melcher has worked summers on the land conducting tree trimming, fuel reduction, and brush removal. He also has experience as an equipment operator. He and a business partner also operate a firewood cutting business.
“I would like to graduate, then go into our family business and manage our tree farms,” Melchersaid.
21-year-old Rachelle Raines will be a senior in the Department of Forestry and WildlandResources Department at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA this coming school year. She is studying forestry with an emphasis in forest operations and production management.
“I love working in the woods and hope to be able to work in the field (of forestry) for as long as I can,” Raines said. She hopes to work for a private timber company in northern California after graduation. Ultimately she hopes to become a Registered Professional Forester. She has worked as a forest technician in the Tongass and Suislaw National Forests.
The Pacific Forest Foundation was established in 2003 and is dedicated to public education about forests and forestry issues.
The organization plans to award five to ten scholarships annually. Applications are accepted starting in January and must be submitted by April 15th. The scholarship program is open to students studying forest engineering, forest management, forest operations management, heavy equipment maintenance and welding, resource management, diesel mechanics, and other forest/timber industry related areas of study.
More information is available at pacificforestfoundation.org.