This month, we are pleased to feature Jason Hartman, Kansas State Forester.

What was your first position in the field of forestry? 

My first position in forestry was a silviculture tech seasonal position on the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. The Boston Mountain and Mount Magazine Ranger Districts hosted four of us from Oklahoma State University and treated the summer much like an internship, rotating us through as many types of work experiences as possible. I made additional stops along the way to Kansas, including Wyoming, Colorado, and Missouri.

How long have you been in your role?  

Only since the end of December. So, just when everyone was starting to get used to me, I had to send most everyone home to telework. Crazy times.

Prior to accepting the State Forester position, I worked in the Kansas Forest Service fire program for about 15 years.

What do you enjoy most about being a CWSF member?  

Much of these first couple of months have been spent meeting the staff and leadership of partner agencies and organizations, including CWSF. Other than the impressive, friendly, and supportive staff I have met by phone and/or during visits to Kansas I would say it’s too soon for me to have a full grasp of all CWSF has to offer.

What do you see to be the emerging issues in your state?  

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to natural resource and wildland fire management in Kansas is the status quo. In many ways, things have been going well enough for so long that seeing the changes that are either already here, or inevitable on the horizon, will be difficult for the public and some in leadership and policy making positions to realize.

 What would you do for a career if you weren't doing this? 

A few times I have contemplated whether I might have enjoyed learning a trade. Electrical work has always been intriguing to me, so maybe electrician? In all honesty, I can’t really imagine not being somehow involved in fire management or resource management.