CLIFTON FORGE — The Forest Management Program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College has been accredited for another 10-year period by the Society of American Foresters, according to Program Head Scott Reigel.
The reaccreditation term is Jan. 1, 2021, through Dec. 31, 2031.
“We are honored by the faith that the Society of American Foresters has granted our program,” said Reigel. “It is the recognition by a professional organization such as SAF that gives us confidence in our forestry technician training regimen and honors our students with professional recognition for their educational accomplishments.
“As of the 2020 SAF Accreditation directory,” he added, “we are one of only 24 forestry technician degree programs in the United States accredited by the SAF. We continue to be the only one in Virginia.”
DSLCC’s Forest Management Technology Associate in Applied Science degree program was established in 1969. The first year of SAF accreditation was in 2010.
“I am so proud of our DSLCC Forestry faculty and students who have worked so hard to earn this recognition,” noted Dr. Ben Worth, vice president of Academic Affairs. “DSLCC Forestry has been part of the college for more than 50 years — it’s a proud tradition.”
The accreditation process was arduous and thorough, said Reigel.
“We completed and filed with the SAF Accreditation Committee an extensive program and Forest Management Technology Degree Self-Evaluation Report in December of 2019,” said Reigel.
An SAF review team came to the college last March for an on-site visit. “They reviewed our facilities, met with DSLCC administration, current DSLCC Forestry students, DSLCC Forestry alumni, DSLCC Forestry Advisory Board, and employers of DSLCC Forestry graduates,” said Reigel.
“In October 2020, members of the Forestry Department team met via ZOOM with the members of the SAF Accreditation Board to review the visiting team’s report, our Self-Evaluation Report and address additional board member questions,” he added.
Reigel said that earning the SAF accreditation is a recognition of all that the DSLCC Associate Degree encompasses. “Without the SAF Accreditation, DSLCC Forest Management Technology AAS graduates would be devalued in the marketplace, and we would let down all the natural resource professions we support,” he said.
“To say this reaccreditation honor is only a blessing to the college itself would disrespect the role our students play in our community and to the health of the great natural resources all around the United States/world,” he continued. “We want to thank all our supporters who invest their time in our student’s success, and it is because of them that our program is being honored by SAF with 10 more years of professional accreditation.”
Reigel continued to say that he and his team will be working to submit the new Arboriculture and Community Forestry specialization AAS degree for SAF accreditation as well.
“This new specialization of the current Forest Management Technology AAS degree works to address the huge demand for caretakers of our community and urban trees,” he said. “We are excited to expand on our past offering in this field to extend the training into an associate degree.”
DSLCC Forestry Associate Professor Billy Newman is the current chairperson for the Virginia Chapter of the SAF, and Reigel is the current Science and Technology chairperson for the Virginia Chapter of SAF.
For more information about the Forest Management Program at DSLCC, contact Reigel at 863-2894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most recent graduates of the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College Forest Management Technology Program gathered for a photo in the Alleghany Highlands in 2019. From left: Suzanne Ryan, Jarrod Hix, Austin Angell, Bailey Sanders, Dalton Harris, Hunter Brown, Michael Hinson,Tyler Jordan, Wesleigh Kimlick, Jarrett Taylor, Chase Shelton, Zach Whitmore and Assistant Professor Billy Newman. The forestry program was recently accredited for a 10-year period by the Society of American Foresters. (DSLCC Photo)