As the Collins Pine family of companies well knows, the future of their operations is the forestlands they manage.
Without healthy forests there is no material product for the diverse operations they have across the country.
To that end the Collins Almanor Forest depends on the knowledge and training of its forestry staff to ensure that the forest stays healthy and that all Timber Harvest Plans and ensuing operations meet state and federal requirements.
Currently, the forestry department includes five Professional Registered Foresters (RPF) on staff including Forest Manager Niel Fischer and a wildlife biologist.
To coin the phrase, “The rest of the story,” it is also well known that continuing education and experience is always needed for these professionals to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.
That brings the story around to Bethany ‘Bennie’ Johnson Howell who is a wildlife biologist who has been with Collins Pine since May of 2015.
She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a Master of Science in Biology (Fisheries and Wildlife) from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.
Recently, she was recognized as a Certified Wildlife Biologist by the The Wildlife Society (TWS), which is recognized as a leader in wildlife science, management and conservation.
According to the TWS website, a certified wildlife biologist is an “individual with the educational background and demonstrated expertise in the art and science of applying the principles of ecology to the conservation and management of wildlife and its habitats, and is judged able to represent the profession as an ethical practitioner, …”
There are currently only about 1,900 Certified Wildlife Biologists recognized by TWS.
Her main focus at Collins Pines is to work closely with the foresters and aid them as they develop timber harvest plans especially in the area of compliance with state requirements and protecting threatened species of plants or animals and maintaining suitable habitat for fish and wildlife, while fostering a healthy and vigorous forest.
When asked, “As an East Coast implant, how do you like living in Northern California?”
Her reply was, “I love it here. I love my job and Collins Pine and I met and married my husband here about a year ago. Yes, I love it here.”