Justin Edwards

Boone, Iowa
What are timbersports?
 
The Forestry Club at Iowa State University has competed in timbersports for many years now at the collegiate level, mainly with surrounding universities from accredited forestry programs. Timbersports is primarily ‘a series of wood chopping competitions where the athletes compete in the use of axes and saws in manners typical for lumberjacks’ as defined by Wikipedia. These strenuous activities really demonstrate how forestry has changed over the years, from tools to techniques. It takes time and dedication to really comprehend the disciplines required for correctly using the equipment. When you step up on top of your chopping block, it has to be just you and the log; that’s all you can think about, anything else and you’re done. 
 
In the end, the real benefit from our involvement in timbersports is the comradery and team building dynamics that moves our club forward.
 
Why did you choose forestry?
 
When I graduated from high school, I was dead set on being a Conservation Officer like my father and his father before him. However, after working summers in New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch; I realized my true passion was to actively manage ecological systems and teach forestry concepts. 
 
What are your career plans?
 
Right now, I am planning on taking both of my parent’s passions, natural resources from my father and journalism and communications from my mother and forging a path into graduate school to study environmental communication. There is so much information at leading research institutions that needs to be gathered, interpreted and presented to the public. This wealth of knowledge can ultimately improve the richness of individuals and families as well as help companies make better environmental decisions. 
 
Why is forestry important?
 
Forests and many other ecological systems are not given enough credit for services and goods that they provide for us, clean air and water, storing carbon from the atmosphere, influencing weather systems, food and much more. The amount of the natural resources left in Iowa is truly limited compared to the human influences and impacts on the land, such as urbanization and agricultural practices. We need to better understand land use practices as they relate to the role the forested ecosystems and management play in the resilience of our state.  
Today, it is absolutely crucial to start actively managing what natural resources we have left for future generations, even if it means today’s generations won’t be around to receive the benefits.
 
“With Right, Comes Responsibility.” – Waite Phillips
 
What’s your advice to students?
 
You’re not in Kansas anymore. Sure you can pick a college with the best academic program in engineering or even get drafted to play on an athletic team, but the true test comes when you start to make the decisions that direct your life. For me, it was choosing to be involved, not only with my department’s clubs and societies, but stepping up to the podium and serving on college committees and student council. Not only has it been a great feeling knowing what’s going on in and around our college, but also having rational, stimulating conversations with some of the best students.