wo of New Hampshires top industriestourism and timber harvestinghave
coexisted throughout the years, despite missions that on surface seem
to be at odds with each other.
might say were just lucky, says Donald Quigley, professor
of forest technology in the Thompson School of Applied Science. Or
maybe people can make the right decisions on a small scale, when they
own the land and are personally invested in it.
Over his 22-year
career, Quigley has taught students and industry professionals how to
make the right decisions.
A stalwart man of lumberjack stature, Quigley grew up
in southern Pennsylvania, on the edge of Amish country. He says his family
hunted and fished, and lived close to the land.
It was, ironically, during infantry duty in the Vietnam
War that Quigley figured out what he wanted to do with his life. He became
fascinated with the jungle. When a buddy suggested he consider studying
forestry, he says it was like the clouds cleared a bit.
At the age of 22, he returned to the States and enrolled
at the University of New Hampshire, earning both his B.A. and masters
degree. Quigley made a name for himself on the Universitys Woodsmen
Teamgoing on to the professional world championship lumberjack finals
later in his careerand pictured himself working in the logging industry.
I had absolutely no inclination toward teaching,
he says. The Thompson School had an open teaching position in my
area of interest and I applied on a whim. I still dont see myself
as a professor. Im more like a forester who teaches.
Quigley finds a bit of himself in his students. Some avoided
academics when they were younger and see this as the last chance to make
something of themselves. Others are second-starters who have raised families
or are interested in new careers.
Our students are specialhighly motivated and
full of hope, he says. Sometimes they just need some kindling
under them to create the heat.
Quigley says the most comfortable part of teaching is
delivering the lesson plan. The challenging part is motivating students
to question the material. His students often find themselves engaged in
discussion with peers about the ethical issues involved in cutting down
trees. Its the age-old loggers versus environmentalists debate.
They ask me, How do you convince these people
that logging provides many benefits? How do you get heard?
Quigley says. Theres a place at the table for differing opinions.
The fact is, New Hampshire has a tremendous history of collaboration in
this areawere the second-most forested state in the country.
But this doesnt get much press. Cooperation rarely does.
He hears similar questions when talking with industry
professionals. This is a group of proud, hard-working people, who
believe that making a living off the land is their birthright, says
Quigley. They feel they are losing status in their community because
of what they do.
In 1993, Quigley cofounded the N.H. Timber Harvesting
Council to promote and protect the interests of the states 1,400
loggers and log truckers. Sponsored by the N.H. Timberland Owners Association,
UNHs Thompson School, and Cooperative Extension, the council leadership
comprises independent contractors dedicated to ensuring that the harvesting
of forest products remains a safe, environmentally responsible, and commercially
viable land use.
This group is amazing, says Quigley. Men,
who you could never imagine, have literally stepped forward from the cabs
of their machinery to become lobbyists on their own behalf.
Quigley says one of the remarkable things is that the
movers and shakers he meets are often former students. These
are special momentswhen you get to see your students making real
Sharon Keeler, UNH News Bureau