Natural Resources Technology: Forest Resources - Degree

Limited Entry Associate of Applied Science Degree Programmhcc.edu/NRT

Faculty Advisers

Jason Pinkerton: 503-491-6941 | Room AC2593 | Jason.Pinkerton@mhcc.edu
Pualani Derman: 503-491-7322 | Room AC2591 | Pualani.Derman@mhcc.edu

The Natural Resources Technology program, Forest Resources option, prepares students for positions of technical responsibility in natural resources management and research. Forest technicians serve in a wide variety of capacities and may work in such diverse areas as reforestation, mapping, vegetation inventory, outdoor recreation, timber appraisal, land surveying, harvesting, stream surveys, wildlife habitat enhancement and wildfire suppression. The Forest Resources option is accredited by the Society of American Foresters.

Outdoor labs are an integral part of the coursework. Students learn practical field techniques necessary for employment in local forests, parks and natural areas. The courses incorporate technologically advanced equipment and software into the field data collection and analysis. In addition, each student completes a cooperative work internship, which gives college credit for on-the-job work experience.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of this program, students should be able to:

  • Perform relevant field tasks required of natural resource technicians
  • Use a broad range of technological tools to research, document, map, measure, record and analyze data relevant to natural resources
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of Pacific Northwest forest ecosystems
  • Demonstrate knowledge of social influences on ecosystem management
  • Demonstrate professional skills needed for successful job performance

Selected courses may be transferred to several four-year institutions in appropriate bachelor’s degree programs. Check with the program adviser for current information. Note: Students who placed into MTH060 Beginning Algebra I (Course offered online) must complete it during their first term in the program.

For the most part, courses that fulfill general education requirements can be taken in any term. 

Plan of Study Grid
First Quarter
FallCredits
F111 Introduction to Natural Resources 3
F141 Tree and Shrub Identification 3
NR160 Wildland Fire 3
NR180 Career Development in Natural Resources 1
Select one of the following: 3
Wilderness Survival (recommended)  
Health and Fitness for Life (Course offered online)  
other Health / Physical Education course
 
 Credits13
Second Quarter
Winter
FT122 Forest Measurements I 5
FW251 Principles of Wildlife Conservation 3
MTH065 Beginning Algebra II (Course offered online) (or higher, excluding MTH098) 2 4
WR121 English Composition (Course offered online) 4
BT210ZEAExcel - Level I (if needed) 0-1
 Credits16-17
Third Quarter
Spring
FT221 Aerial Photo Interpretation and GPS 4
MTH084 Applied Trigonometry with Modeling 2 1
NR140 Introduction to Forest Soils 3
NR144 Forest Insects and Diseases 3
NR230 Forest Botany 3
 Credits14
Fourth Quarter
Summer
WE280NR_Cooperative Education Internship 2
 Credits2
Fifth Quarter
Fall
F200 Introduction to Forest Surveying 4
F240 Natural Resources Ecology 4
FT222 Forest Measurements II 4
WR227 Technical Report Writing (Course offered online) 4
 Credits16
Sixth Quarter
Winter
FT228 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 3
NR212 Current Issues/Forest Resources 1
NR242 Watershed Processes 3
NR244 Applied Silviculture I: Reforestation 3
Human Relations requirement 3 3-4
 Credits13-14
Seventh Quarter
Spring
FT235 Outdoor Recreation 3
NR238 Timber Harvesting and Products 5
NR246 Applied Silviculture II: Forest Stand Dynamics 3
Related Elective 6-8
 Credits17-19
 Total Credits91-95

Related Electives to reach 90 credits, if needed:

NR260Field Projects3
MTH095Intermediate Algebra with Right Triangle Trigonometry (Course offered online) (or higher)5
Modern Languages
Any courses with the following prefixes: ANTH, BA, BI, BT, CH, CIS, COMM, EHS, ET, FW, G, GEOG, NR or SHS.

Transfer Schools

Admission Information

Natural Resources Technology is a limited entry program that begins in the fall term only. Interested students can can reserve a spot in the Natural Resources Technology program by completing a simple 3-step process at mhcc.edu/NRTAdmissions

The program accepts 40 new students each year. Prospective students are admitted on a space available basis after reading, writing, and math requirements have been met. Registration for Fall term begins in May. Once spots are filled, students will be placed on an alternate list.

F111 Introduction to Natural Resources

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

Students are introduced to natural resources definitions, management and regulations, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems. Topics include an elementary approach to ecosystems structure, composition and function; fundamentals of forest, range, watershed, wetlands, recreation and wildlife management; and an overview of pertinent history and laws influencing natural resource policy and management.

F141 Tree and Shrub Identification

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

This course is devoted to the classification and field identification of important western trees and shrubs. Appropriate ranges, habitats and consumer use of these species are presented as well as a survey of other major forest types of North America. Outdoor field trips are an integral part of the course.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

F200 Introduction to Forest Surveying

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W, each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels; and MTH084; or instructor consent.

This course covers the fundamental concepts of plane surveying and resource surveys within the natural resources field. The use of mathematics in applying the correction to errors, calculation of angles and bearings and the adjustment of traverses is emphasized, along with field survey practice. Federal and State survey protocols may be covered.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

F240 Natural Resources Ecology

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: F111 or FW251; or instructor consent.

Natural Resources Ecology is an introductory course in ecology, with an emphasis on forest ecosystems. Students examine the relationships between biological and physical components of ecosystems and dynamic processes such as nutrient cycling, disturbance and succession. Students are expected to take an active role in class activities, including class discussions and group work. Indoor and outdoor laboratories focus on field techniques used to measure and characterize ecosystem components. This course is recommended for all natural resources technology majors and all students interested in ecology and natural resource conservation.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

This course fulfills: Lab Science

FT122 Forest Measurements I

Credits 5Winter

Registration Requirement: F111 and MTH060; or instructor consent.

This course introduces the student to field measurement of forest resources. Topics include fundamentals of field sampling, use of topographic maps, estimation of land area and measurement of physical tree characteristics. Electronic data collection and analysis are integral.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

FT221 Aerial Photo Interpretation and GPS

Credits 4Spring

Registration Requirement: FT122 and MTH065; or instructor consent.

This course teaches the fundamentals of aerial photograph, the global positioning systems (GPS) and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS, drones) needed for navigation, interpretation and data gathering in natural resources. Students learn to relate photo features to map and landscape features, and to find distance, direction and land area on photos. Photos are used with GPS for various field data applications. Additional GPS topics include satellite signals and paths, factors influencing position accuracy and computer post-processing. Students use GPS to construct computer-generated maps. sUAS Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 107 licensing requirements are covered extensively.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

FT222 Forest Measurements II

Credits 4Fall

Registration Requirement: FT122 and MTH084 or higher; or instructor consent.

This course provides instruction and training in estimating volume and quality of standing timber. Sampling methods and their associated field techniques are covered, with an emphasis on producing reliable and accurate data. Data computation, statistical evaluation and the preparation of comprehensive timber cruise reports are required. Labs focus on field timber cruising using Atterbury's Super A.C.E. program.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

FT228 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: FT221 or ET142; or instructor consent.

This course covers the fundamentals of how to manage, manipulate and display spatially-referenced data for land-use planning and decision making. Students work with GIS software applications.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

FT235 Outdoor Recreation

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: RD090 and WR090, or IECC201R and IECC201W; and MTH020; each with a grade of "C" or better, or placement above stated course levels.

This course explores the use and management of forested recreational settings. Topics include the influence of social and economic values on recreational use and planning, techniques for environmental interpretation and facilities and site maintenance.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR140 Introduction to Forest Soils

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

This course introduces students to the physical and chemical properties of forest soils in the context of forest management. Topics include soil composition, texture, structure, water holding capacity and nutrient cycling. The roles of mycorrhizal fungi and soil organisms in organic matter decomposition and nutrient availability are examined. Key concepts are used to evaluate the effects of forest management activities on soil productivity.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR144 Forest Insects and Diseases

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

In this course, the major insects and diseases of Pacific Northwest forest trees are studied as they relate to forest health. Identification, biology, damage to trees and the role of insects and diseases in forest ecosystems are emphasized. Preventative and control measures are studied in the context of landowners' management objectives. A discussion of abiotic damage agents, including atmospheric pollutants, is also included.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR160 Wildland Fire

Credits 3Fall

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Natural Resources Technology program.

This course introduces the student to the role of fire in forested ecosystems. Areas addressed include wildland fire prevention, suppression and behavior; fuels management strategies and activities; basic fire ecology; and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool. Topics covered include the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG) S-190, Introduction to Wildlind Fire Behavior and S-130, Firefighter Training.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR180 Career Development in Natural Resources

Credit 1Fall/Winter

Registration Requirement: Acceptance into the Natural Resources Technology or Fisheries Technology program.

In this course, students investigate career options, job search strategies and application processes specific to the natural resources field, including discussion of private organizations and public agencies managing natural resources in the Pacific Northwest. Topics will include interviewing, resume development, job search strategies and methods and specific application processes for state and federal positions.

NR212 Current Issues/Forest Resources

Credit 1Winter

Registration Requirement: F111 or instructor consent.

This course investigates biological, social and political issues influencing forestry and natural resources management. Organizations and organizational structure are examined as they relate to land management philosophies and objectives.

NR230 Forest Botany

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: F141 recommended.

This course introduces students to the identification and classification of forest plants. Topics include plant taxonomy, anatomy and physiological responses to environmental factors. Labs focus on field identification of plant families and indicator species.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR238 Timber Harvesting and Products

Credits 5Spring

Registration Requirement: FT228 and NR244 or instructor consent.

This course investigates the various techniques used to remove woody material from forest stands and to manufacture wood products. Instruction focuses on selecting proper harvesting methods and equipment to meet forest management objectives, and the relationship between the raw wood material and finished wood product. Topics include the operations of ground-based, cable and aerial logging methods; environmental assessment of resource impacts; timber sale and road layout; timber appraisal, wood properties and treatment; and methods of product manufacturing. Field trips to logging sites and mills are integral to the course.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR242 Watershed Processes

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: FT122 and NR140.

This course examines the basic hydrological processes occurring in forested watersheds. Natural factors influencing water quality and yield, fish and wildlife habitat and soil and slope stability are covered. The effects of forest management activities on these processes are examined, with an emphasis on riparian areas.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR244 Applied Silviculture I: Reforestation

Credits 3Winter

Registration Requirement: NR140 and F240; or instructor consent.

In NR244 and NR246, students are instructed in the practices of forest ecosystem management. This course focuses on the principles and applications of reforestation and restoration of native plants. Topics include silvical characteristics of forest tree species, site preparation, seedling selection and planting, brush and animal damage control, natural regeneration and reforestation evaluation.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR246 Applied Silviculture II: Forest Stand Dynamics

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: NR244 or instructor consent.

This course is a continuation of Silviculture I. In this course students study the growth and development of stands and methods of prescribing stand management techniques, particularly thinning, for a given forest type and landowner objective. It also includes evaluating the applicability of the major silvicultural systems of clearcutting, shelterwood and selection cutting for a given site and landscape.

Additional Course Fee: $25.00

NR260 Field Projects

Credits 3Spring

Registration Requirement: NR244 and FT228, or instructor consent.

This course provides the student an opportunity to synthesize the principles and field skills gained from previous coursework by planning, developing and carrying out a team capstone project of their own. Data are recorded in field journals and results are communicated both orally and in technically written reports.