This past April, the ABAC Foundation purchased the ABAC Teaching Forest. The inspiration came from a comprehensive facility study, which was done by the ABAC Foundation and members of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources back in 2017. It helped identify the need for a teaching forest to support ABAC’s academic programs in Forestry and Wildlife (B.S. in Natural Resources Management in the Forest Resources Department).
The Forest Resources Department has been using both public and private lands to provide hands-on learning experiences for ABAC students. However, there are limitations to what the department could and could not do.
Since ABAC now has its own teaching forest, ABAC will be better able to carry out long-term forest and wildlife management: where students can be a part of implementing different management techniques learned in the classroom. This will help the instructors illustrate the effectiveness of the different management techniques taught within the wildlife management program.
Another inspiration for this purchase is the accreditation of ABAC’s B.S. in Natural Resource Management (Forestry track) with the Society of American Foresters (SAF).
This program is currently under “Candidacy” status. The teaching forest will enhance the school’s accreditation efforts.
The majority of the teaching forest will stay in managed woodlands or timberland — located about 10 miles north of campus off of Willis Still Rd. About 30 acres will be cultivated and used to teach students how to plant wildlife plots.
A main-headquarters will also need to be developed which will include offices, classrooms, meeting space, laboratories, and equipment barns.