Abigail Herman (Natural Resources Conservation)

Forest Restoration Crew Member with the City of Boulder in Boulder, Colorado

This 2021 I was able to have my first two co-op terms working an 8 month job with the City of Boulder on the forestry crew in Boulder, Colorado. Our crew was assigned 200 acres among the Open Space and Mountain Parks land to implement fire mitigation through forest thinning. We are also a crew that gets asked to respond to local and regional wildfires. I had the pleasure learning more about forest restoration methods through tangible application not only through a student lens but also through teaching opportunities with volunteer groups and curious hikers we meet on the trails we work along. 

In the first four months/ my first co-op term, I was trained on a chainsaw and tree felling as well as received time with heavy equipment such as tractor, chipper, and truck and trailers. My favorite part of this role was the variety in jobs and time to build new skills that I never imagined I would enjoy, especially after being terrified the first time I drove the tractor. I ended my summer trained with a wildland firefighting certification, a heavy equipment certification and many amazing memories with a supportive crew. 

As intimidating as an 8 month work term can sound, the fall has been just as challenging and stimulating through great attitudes among coworkers and a dynamic job that keeps us all on our toes. I responded to my first local wildfire and am currently working on my chainsaw certification. I am excited to learn how to wrap up our project by creating snags among our thinned site for our native bird and insect species.

By the end of this, I will be gratefully fulfilled in my first of many forestry experiences through Co-op. Being able to not only grow as a student but as an employee and even as a friend has led me to gain confidence in communication, problem solving, and picking up skills quickly and efficienty. Joining this program has allowed me to add the experiences and skills throughout my work to the foundation that my forestry classes laid. This has inspired me to continue seaking these sort of opportunities that push me out of my comfort zone and grows me into a strong, capable, and passionate woman in forestry.

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