Wednesday, May 17, 2017

After Action Review

How do you know if you have done enough? These photos are from three years ago, but are a good indication of what I have done during my years as a forester working for a state agency.

The Dead File...Now it is half again as big.  These are files that are inactive because of death or properties sold; and of course many of those ended up dead soon after. You keep them because you never get rid of government records, and the ground may become a case again with a new owner. The next forester won't know who to look up, though, so it is a waste, but you can't destroy records.

Tree orders and confirmations. I changed the landscape with the help of many good landowners, and that was just part of my job. The last several years I have not done tree orders because one of the state nurseries was closed, and the other one was severely hampered by budget problems. Landowners have had to order their trees from private nurseries and tree planting goes on.  That's a little more than twenty years of orders, all filled out by hand, and with a planting plan to government specs to back up each one,  plus recons and inspections and meetings with landowners and contractors

The change to computers came over many years and now the thought of writing documents out on a legal pad and handing it to a secretary seems ludicrous. The guy who hired me said at a meeting that "We are bureaucrats.  We fill out papers." He was right!  Everything you do must have paper to back it up or to make it go. Shortly after I started my previous forestry job in Kentucky we had a district meeting with all of the fire control people, forest management foresters and clerical.  Jack Rhody, from the State Forester's office in Frankfort gave us a short lesson that stuck with me. He got up and said "When one of you guys does something like throwing a pop bottle out your truck window, people don't call the State Forester. They call the Governor.  You are representing him, and you should be making him look good every day."  That was good advice for anyone drawing a paycheck, and I never forgot it. I still wonder who threw a pop bottle out the window.  I bet his butt is still sore.

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