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Oregon Tech signs MOU with U.S. Forest Service to provide natural resource management experience

Jul 02, 2018
The MOU recognizes Oregon Tech’s success on providing hands-on, applied education, and expands on the capacity of the university by utilizing knowledge and field experience of U.S. Forest Service personnel to foster the next generation of federal land managers.

Fremont-Winema National Forest Map

A partnership between Oregon Institute of Technology (“Oregon Tech”) and the United States Department of Agriculture Fremont-Winema National Forest has been launched to provide students with real-world experience in natural resource management in the classroom and the field.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently signed by Oregon Tech president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, and Fremont-Winema forest supervisor, Barry Imler. The MOU recognizes Oregon Tech’s success on providing hands-on, applied education, and expands on the capacity of the university by utilizing knowledge and field experience of U.S. Forest Service personnel to foster the next generation of federal land managers.

U.S. Forest Service employees have been involved with Oregon Tech programs including environmental sciences, civil engineering, surveying and geomatics for more than 25 years. Additionally, the national forest and U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region have hired a number of Oregon Tech graduates over the years, with many more working in Southeastern Oregon for the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The partnership is also intended to improve recruitment of local students to the U.S. Forest Services, and retention of future employees who may value rural lifestyles.

The MOU will work to pursue the common academic interests of the two organization, providing training; conducting assessments, inventory and research; monitoring restoration and working to conserve and restore ecosystems.

In particular, Oregon Tech agrees to:

  1. Explore scholarship, internship, fellowship and cooperative education opportunities within the U.S. Forest Service for Oregon Tech students.
  2. Meet at least annually with U.S. Forest Service representatives to develop collaborative strategic plans and reach agreement on proposals to meet the purposes of this MOU.
  3. Work cooperatively with the U.S. Forest Service to identify activities that will offer students real-world natural resource management experience, such as monitoring, inventory, surveys, and assessments on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
  4. Consider encouraging students to complete senior projects related to Fremont-Winema National Forest natural resource management issues.
  5. Investigate developing multi-disciplinary projects involving students from various academic program areas.
  6. Prepare in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service written action plans for proposals, projects and related activities considered by both parties to have mutual interest.
  7. Provide safe transportation for students/faculty when making site visits or field tours of the national forest.

To support this effort, the U.S. Forest Service will:

  1. Make national forest system lands available for the furtherance of this partnership, subject to the National Environmental Protection Act, and other applicable federal laws and regulations.
  2. Provide time for U.S. Forest Service personnel to work with students in Oregon Tech classrooms/labs and on the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
  3. Offer Oregon Tech students and faculty temporary (seasonal) and permanent employment information, and participate in Oregon Tech career fairs and other recruitment activities.
  4. Provide faculty/students pertinent information to the conduct of field studies and help in selecting appropriate locations.
  5. Facilitate access to U.S. Forest Service research stations to bring academic expertise to ecosystem management questions that might arise.

This agreement went into effect upon its approval this summer, and programs will begin during the academic year 2018-2019.

For more information, contact Marla Edge, Director of Academic Agreements, at 541.885.1034; marla.edge@oit.edu.
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