Like the symbiosis of mycelium and tree roots, the Forestry Crew is a perfect arc between academics and work on-campus. To fulfill the College’s Forest Plan, students work closely with Forest Manager and Crew Supervisor Shawn Swartz to perform silvicultural maintenance, conduct research and inventory, and produce non-timber forest products.

See the Forest Through the Trees

Students on the Forestry Crew are exposed to situations and gain skills as diverse as our forest. From timber felling, prescribed fire, and exotic invasive species control to crafting non-timber forest products, planting understory medicinal plants, and conducting research, students are well-equipped with the skills, knowledge, and systems-thinking to launch their career or graduate school.

Learning… friends… and, learning with friends. The bonds made with the people you work and learn with are like no other. Some of my best friends are those I’ve made while working on the Forestry Crew. Forestry Crew has given me the confidence to reach for goals I never would have thought possible; the respect and humbleness to know when to listen to someone who knows more than I do; and of course, to chisel my leadership skills which for me means stepping up and stepping back as appropriate, patience, maturity and compassion.

Larissa Robinov '17

Supervisor Spotlight

Shawn Swartz is a Registered Forester in NC, an SAF Certified Forester, and ISA certified Arborist. He holds degrees in Forest Management and Natural Resource Management from Haywood Community College and Oregon State University. At Warren Wilson College Shawn is the Forest Manager, Timbersports Team Coach, and Advisor to the Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters. His professional interests include the restoration of forest species including American chestnut and eastern hemlock; non-timber forest products such as American ginseng, goldenseal, ramps, tree syrups, and woodland mushrooms; and woody perennial crops such as American hazelnut and pawpaw. When not working, he enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and riding his motorcycle.

Learning Outcomes

You’ll spend years working alongside your peers and mentored by supervisors. Part of the experience of work at Warren Wilson is guided critical reflection, which helps ensure that you achieve both your own educational goals as well as our Common Learning Outcomes. These intentional learning outcomes distinguish our work program, giving it focus and relevancy that set it apart from federal work study or your average part-time job. Specifically, our Common Learning Outcomes are:

  • Dependability: reliability, accountability, and the ability to successfully manage your time
  • Integrity: trustworthiness and respect for transparent honesty
  • Initiative: self-control, the ability to evaluate situations, and motivation to carry out responsibilities
  • Analytical Thinking: working with available resources to creatively address issues and solve problems
  • Communication: the ability to convey information effectively and build community with others
  • Collaboration: collaborate with peers to achieve common goals
  • Appreciation of the Value of All Work: an understanding of your place in the working world, and a respect for the dignity of all work

Learning and Performance Goals

In addition to our Common Learning Outcomes, each crew in the Work Program identifies crew-specific goals for learning and performance. These are reviewed with you each semester. The Learning and Performance Goals outline skills and abilities the supervisor will teach during the semester.  Topics you can expect to experience on the Forestry Crew include:

  • Teamwork
  • Completing daily tasks guided by a long-term plan
  • Safe and skillful operation of chainsaws, mauls, portable sawmills, etc.
  • Silvicultural practices: timber felling, enrichment planting, mensuration, exotic invasive species control
  • Producing value-added non-timber forest products: syrups, medicinals, agroforestry plantings, and mushroom cultivation
  • Responsibility and initiative