The County Board, as part of a year-long initiative to highlight employees who provide outstanding customer service, recognized Forester Nate Anderson with a "Customer Service Star" award during its meeting on February 27 in Alborn Township.
Shown L-R (kneeling): Commissioners Patrick Boyle and Pete Stauber. (standing) Commissioner Tom Rukavina, County Administrator Kevin Gray, Auditor Don Dicklich, Commissioner Beth Olson, Land & Minerals Director Mark Weber, Commissioner Mike Jugovich, Forester Nate Anderson,
Land and Minerals Department Director Mark Weber shared the following comments about Nate and his contributions to St. Louis County:
"It is my pleasure to introduce you to Nathaniel Anderson, a Forester I from our Pike Lake Office. Nate started his career with the Land and Minerals Department as a Forestry Technician in 2010, and has been with the Department for 7.5 years.
Nate is a very responsible, very professional, very productive employee for the Department. In addition to effectively performing his everyday duties, including timber sale preparation and administration, he has taken on some very important projects.
Nate has coordinated the Society of American Foresters (SAF) 5th Grade Forestry Field Day for the past five years. Each year Duluth-area fifth graders take a field trip to area parks for a day of exposure to the diversity of natural resources management. As coordinator of this event, Nate is responsible for scheduling the event, securing facilities, estimating expenses, developing a budget, applying for grants and performing other fundraising activities. In 2017, approximately 900 students, teachers and chaperones from 19 schools participated in four area parks. There are always a variety of subjects that the 5th graders get hands-on experience, including tree identification, tree growth, tree regeneration, wildlife management, forest insects and disease, forest soils, forest hydrology, wildland fire, forest products, and new forest technology. Instructors are able to use the parks as outdoor labs, and the kids are encouraged to get their hands dirty and ask questions. The SAF 5th Grade Forestry Field Day requires a significant amount of coordination and collaboration to execute. More than 40 natural resource professionals from 21 local government agencies, private businesses, universities, and consulting forestry firms provide coordination and instructional support.
The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for kids to get outside and learn about our natural resources for a day. Unfortunately, spending time in the outdoors does not seem to be gaining in popularity, and this lack of interaction with nature can have cascading effects on our youth. Considering the distractions our kids are presented with today, this event not only gets them into the woods for a day, but it also helps them make the connection between the forest and forest products they use in their daily lives.
In addition to coordinating the 5th Grade Forestry Field Day, Nate has been the project lead for the Howard Gnesen Salvage Timber Sale. This sale was designed to treat wind storm damage on several hundred acres of tax forfeited land within the City of Duluth. The area is highly visible and has over 50 neighboring land owners. Nate coordinated and collaborated with other landowners, including the City of Duluth and Ridgeview Golf Club, which also suffered storm damaged timber on their properties. Nate conducted extensive public outreach by sending letters to surrounding landowners informing them of our plans and objectives to avoid misconceptions, and assuring them of our commitment to sustainable forest management.
Nate came to us highly recommended from the University of Minnesota, where one of his forestry professors mentioned Nate was a strong candidate for graduate school. Nate instead chose to pursue a career in applicable field forestry. He is one of our more knowledgeable employees in the use of new technologies such as data recorders and GIS, and serves as a resource in helping fellow employees learn new technologies.
So, in case you haven’t noticed, we Foresters tend to be a quiet bunch, dressed in our flannel and our wool, and we tend to stay away from the lime-light. But we can be trusted to do the right thing, the fair thing, and get the job done in a responsible and professional manner. To me, Nate is the epitome of the professional Forester. You don’t need to worry about the County’s significant natural resources, nor does the public, because they are in good hands thanks to professionals like Nate.
On behalf of the Land and Minerals Department, I am proud to recognize Nate for the service he provides to our residents and taxpayers, for his professionalism, and for his stewardship to our land and timber resources."