The Future of SAF: Ryan Vogel
April 10, 2019
Continuing with profiles of up-and-coming SAF members, this month The Forestry Source
features Ryan Vogel, a dual-degree master’s student at Ohio State University.
In his own words, Vogel shares his path to becoming an urban-forest planner and his vision for SAF’s future.
"Just as every urban forest is unique, in that no two are the same, so too are the foresters who manage these forests. Growing up in New York City, I was not exposed to the “traditional” forests that students who grow up in rural areas know. Most of the parks and streets I played in as a child were covered in concrete, with only the occasional tree struggling to survive in the concrete jungle. Not until much later would I realize that every city tree played an important part in forming the urban-forest matrix.
In an effort to get out of the city, I applied to colleges across the country and, ultimately, accepted a scholarship to study architecture at the Hispanic-serving institution Florida International University (FIU). I soon realized that I did not want to design buildings, but instead wanted to apply my newly acquired spatial design skills toward the natural environment. As I continued to explore the Florida Everglades, I learned about many fascinating tropical trees native to Miami that don’t grow anywhere else in the country. I also had the opportunity to do forestry work in the Peruvian Amazon that involved inventorying trees and testing sustainable palm-fruit harvesting techniques. This experience changed my life. I returned from that trip and immediately changed my major. I knew that regardless of the color of my skin or my urban upbringing, I wanted to become a forester."