Profile: Misty Booth
Misty Booth, the first woman to become forest manager at Mississippi State University, says many people love the outdoors, but a career in forestry requires much more than a recreational enjoyment of the woods.
For Booth, a 1999 MSU forest management graduate, the love of her work stems from an early appreciation for natural resources and an interest in conservation. She likes knowing that her decisions today will have an impact on MSU‚Äôs Bulldog Forest for years to come.
"Having something that is this longstanding in your care is exciting," she says. Some of the other elements of her work &emdash; snakes, briars, heat, and ticks &emdash; well, those are just part of the job, she says.
"I have a healthy fear of snakes and I‚Äôm allergic to poison ivy, but I‚Äôm excited about the land management. It really gives me a humbling sense of perspective to consider the history of the land and its importance to the people who came before us, coupled with the fact that it will be here long after we are gone," Booth said.
Booth oversees some 17,000 acres of forestland in 19 Mississippi counties on behalf of the university. This forestland is utilized for teaching, research, demonstration, recreation, and revenue. Funds generated from these properties provide student scholarships and support for faculty.
"It's very much a working forest," Booth said. "We provide forest management or support for all university forestland to meet the objectives of each property." Booth explains this involves the coordination of timber sales, inventory, regeneration efforts, harvesting operations, forest health evaluations, prescribed burning, infrastructure maintenance, record keeping, research, and recreational use. All of the forestland is managed to be self-sustaining.
Booth says one of the great things about working at MSU is the extension mission of the university and the opportunity for public outreach. She is instrumental in the execution of the Mid-South Forestry Equipment Show, the longest running, live, in-woods demonstration of forestry equipment in the nation.
Next week … JaNae Taylor !