Tall Timbers, a Forest of Possibilities
UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences student Genevieve Printiss is working toward her bachelor’s degree in forest resources and conservation, housed in the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences. Over the summer, Printiss completed an internship at the Tall Timbers Research Station in Tallahassee, Florida, where she gained hands-on experience before her upcoming spring 2022 graduation. Printiss applied knowledge and skills she learned through her coursework to a possible career in her industry. She learned about this experience from her undergraduate program coordinator, Scott Sager.
This internship was managed by the Fire Ecology Lab within Tall Timbers. During her internship, Printiss helped with several research projects, including a 10-year woody stem census that evaluated the long-term impacts of fire on plant re-growth. Additionally, she helped with the 2021 tree census on tall timbers, where the team identified and measured the DBH (diameter at breast height) of over 500 trees. She also collaborated on the LiDar mapping project on Tall Timbers that tracked the growth rate of almost 1,000 trees. Beyond research projects, Printiss was a member of the Tall Timbers burn crew and used a drip torch on 4 prescribed fires. By ridding forest areas of dead leaves and other debris, a prescribed burn can help reduct insect populations, destroy invasive plants, encourage rejuvenating plant growth and help prevent destructive wildfires.
Due to Florida summer weather, working outdoors is not always feasible. When it rained, Printiss helped input data and edited the Coastal Plain Plants website. Not only did this internship provide hands-on outdoor forestry work, but it also was an opportunity to improve her writing, she said. Printiss learned an extraordinary amount about plant identification and fire throughout her internship and said she was able to directly apply what she learned in her classes in a valuable way. She used knowledge and skills she gained in her classes in dendrology, mensuration and silviculture daily. During this summer experience, she even earned her ATV certification!
For other students who may be interested in an internship with Tall Timbers, Printiss said it is important to be comfortable in the woods alone as there were days she took the truck out to the plots alone for a full day of data collection.
“My favorite thing about this internship was the freedom Tall Timbers allowed. After my first month at this internship, I was allowed to go out and collect data for our research projects alone. This provided an incredible learning opportunity for me and has made me much more confident in my abilities.” – Genevieve Printiss
Programs in the School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences provide a rich, personal educational experience for students, new discoveries and applications that enrich lives, communities, and natural resources, and lifelong learning opportunities for professionals, policy makers, landowners, youth and the general public. For more information about career planning and assistance preparing to secure an internship of your own, visit the CALS Career Planning webpage.