Brief History of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky

The seeds of Kentucky’s Forestry and Natural Resources Department were initially sown in 1923 on a 15,000 acre tract of forest occupying portions of Knott, Breathitt, and Perry Counties donated to the University of Kentucky by Cincinnati businessman E.O. Robinson. Eventually becoming the E.O. Robinson Foundation Trust, this gift was provided for the purposes of agricultural experiments, teaching, and the demonstration of reforestation in the Central Appalachian Region.

The ensuing years witnessed a great deal of activity at Robinson Forest and in 1963 a thriving and growing forest and wood products industry encouraged the establishment of a Forest and Wood Technician School in nearby Quicksand, KY - this program trained hundreds of forest technicians and sawmill operators.

Eventually, the need for professional foresters who could help responsibly and sustainably manage the region’s timber and other natural resources led to the creation of the Department of Forestry at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. Several of the department’s first graduates in 1971 began their education at the Forest and Wood Technician School in Quicksand. Since the 1971 graduating class, the Department of Forestry has graduated approximately 800 students who currently reside in over 30 states across the country. In 2017, the Department of Forestry changed its name to the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Our graduates work in all aspects of forestry and natural resource management in a wide range of disciplines and professional pursuits. It is important to note that Kentucky’s undergraduate forestry program has maintained Society of American Foresters accreditation since 1974. In addition, the department has maintained a Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters (affectionately called the Forestry Club by its members) since January 19, 1973.

The Department of Forestry and Natural Resources has also been a leading contributor to the interdisciplinary Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) major for many years, having been foundational in beginning the program for the College of Agriculture back in 1991. Our faculty not only teach many of the classes in this program, but also continue serve in the key leadership positions.

The faculty composition in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources has evolved with the many changes observed in forest industry and natural resource management professions over the last several decades. Please see below for a listing of faculty in the department since 1970.

Department Chairs

Dr Tom Hansbrough 1970 – 1976
Dr. George Coltharp (interim) 1976
Dr. Bart Thielges 1976 - 1990
Dr. Robert Muller 1990 - 1997
Dr. Don Graves 1997 - 2004
Dr. Steve Bullard 2004 - 2009
Dr. Michael Lacki (interim) 2009 - 2010
Dr. Terrell T. “Red” Baker 2010 - 2017
Dr. Jeff Stringer 2017 - present

Forest Physiology and Ecology

Dr. Stan Carpenter
Dr. Bill Carlton
Dr. Tom Kimmerer

Forest Ecology

Dr. Bob Muller
Dr. Mary Arthur

Silviculture

Dr. Ed White
Dr. Bob Wittwer
Dr. Paul Kalisz
Dr. John Lhotka

Watershed Hydrology

Dr. Don Hook
Dr. George Coltharp
Dr. Randy Kolka
Dr. Chris Barton

Wood Technology

Dr. R.C. Tang
Dr. Jim Olson
Dr. Jan Wiedenbeck

Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing

Dr. Don Graves

Mensuration

Dr. O.M. Davenport
Dr. Calvin Liu
Dr. Songlin Fei

Forest Recreation and Fire Control

Dr. Leroy Shilling
Dr. Dave Erikson
Dr. Allen Worms

Wildlife Management

Dr. Randy Heiligman
Dr. Bob Rumsey
Dr. Bill McComb
Dr. Mike Lacki

Forest Harvesting and Sawmilling

Dr. Boyd Richards

Forest Pathology

Louis Shain (joint with Plant Pathology)

Forest Entomology

Dr. Jerry Nordine (joint with Department of Entomology)
Dr. Lynne Rieske-Kinney (joint with Department of Entomology)

Forest Economics

Dr. John Redman (joint with Department of Agricultural Economics)
Dr. Marcella Syzmanski
Dr. Jim Ringe

Forest History and Policy

Robert Collins (retired DBNF supervisor)
Dr. Jeff Edgens
Dr. Andrew Stainback
Dr. Thomas Ochuodho

Forest Management

Dr. Don Graves (also Surface Mine Reclamation Specialist 1978)
Dr. Joe Chang
Dr. Matthew Pelkki
Dr. Tamara Cushing
Dr. Marco Contreras

Forest Landscape Ecology

Dr. Chuck Rhoads (Forest Restoration Ecology)
Dr. Jian Yang

Conservation Biology

Dr. Dave Maehr
Dr. John Cox

Forest Genetics

Dr. Dave Wagner

Stream and Riparian Ecology

Dr. Steven Price

Forestry Extension Positions

Extension Forester

James A. Newman
Dr. Don Fogus
Dr. Jeff Stringer (Hardwood Silviculture)

Youth and Alternative Forest Products

Dr. Deborah Hill

Wildlife Management

Dr. Craig Heugel
Dr. Fred Servello
Dr. Thomas Barnes
Dr. Matthew Springer

Wood Utilization

Dr. John Shelly
Dr. James Reeb
Dr. Terry Conners

Forest Engineering

Dr. Matthew Smidt

Forest Recreation

Dr. Allen Worms

Contact Us
Contact Us

View contact information for main office, department chair, Extension, undergraduate and graduate program.

Contact Us

Locations

Campus and off-campus locations, directions, and parking information.

View Locations

About Us

Learn more about Kentucky’s Land Grant Forestry and Natural Resources Department.

About Us