Forestry students at UMFK take part in a hands on lab with two local professionals

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FORT KENT, Maine - These forestry students traded in the comfort of their desks on Wednesday for an opportunity that can't be experienced in the classroom. An experience that brought a local Land Surveyor and Geographic Information Systems Professional to the college, along with their cutting edge technology known as RTK-GPS. This stands for Real Time Kinematic Global Positioning System.

"Forestry utilizes lesser technology because you're usually in a hostile environment being in the woods," said Michael Cyr, who is a Licensed Professional Land Surveyor, #1255.

But even as a forester, knowing how to use the technology is a beneficial skill to have. Michael Cyr says being able to share his knowledge with the students is rewarding.

"It's really nice that the forestry program has asked us to come here because there is certainly a close link between forestry, land surveying, land ownership, land management, land development that is really important to the future of Maine," said Cyr.

A link that Spencer Caron can relate to. Caron graduated from the forestry program at UMFK in 2005, and now works alongside Cyr.

"I like being able to donate back to the University, you know being alumni. It's really great experience and I'm really glad to be able to bring this new technology to the students," said Caron, who is a Geographic Information Systems Professional, #57270.

"Many of these students are going to be getting their license in forestry, but these gentleman are licensed surveyors and it's a different realm, so it's good for them to understand what licensed surveyors need to know and some of the applications," said Dave Hobbins, who is a Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies at UMFK.

And the students agree.

"Not only does it help us in the forestry world, but it expands our knowledge beyond what we know in forestry so we can apply this knowledge that we've learned into other trades," said Hayden Alley, who is in the forestry management program at UMFK.

"We could hire a company like them to come in and survey a property line or a road for us," said Garrett Wilbur, who is also in the forestry management program at UMFK.

A lesson that these gentleman hoped the students would walk away with. That even though they may not go into this field, they need to see the connection between the two.