In the Woods with Dode Gladders, Sullivan County Forester
Extension county foresters help citizens and landowners learn about and care for New Hampshire's forests, trees, wildlife and habitats. Because they're usually in the woods, getting to know your county forester can be a challenge. That's why we've created In the Woods, an ongoing series of interviews with Extension foresters. Get to know your county forester and then give them a call to join you on a walk in the woods.
Name: Dode Gladders
Title: Sullivan County Forester, Natural Resources Field Specialist
Start Date at Extension: May 2013
Interested in walking your woodlot with Dode? You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 863-9200.
What brought you to Extension?
I saw a job listing for a forester position at Extension. They wanted someone with a good general forestry background and some added experience in forest health. That was my exact background. Also, my wife grew up in Lempster, right here in Sullivan County. It was a perfect fit!
How would your 10-year old self react to what you do?
My 10-year old self would be impressed that I had found a way to make a living doing something fun outside.
What originally got you interested in your current field of work?
I spent a lot of time hiking when I was growing up, first in Missouri, and eventually out west during college summers. When I started college, I took a dendrology class for a science requirement and I was hooked immediately. That's when I first realized that there were actually paying jobs in forestry.
Who is a forester who you look up to or who has inspired you?
Elers Koch was an old-school forester. He worked with Gifford Pinchot when the US Forest Service was getting up to speed, and he did some really amazing things with firefighting and conservation. I highly recommend Forty Years a Forester by Elers Koch to anyone interested in a good read.
What energizes you and brings you excitement?
I'm energized by constantly meeting new landowners on new properties and helping them with forest management advice.
Which NH tree species is the most underrated or has a bad reputation?
Basswood is underrated, or at least overlooked. It does a great job enriching soils for sugar maple, and the wood is great for carving. A lot of duck decoys are carved from basswood.
If there was one thing you would want landowners to know, what would it be?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer. Foresters make management suggestions based on two main considerations -- what's there to work with and landowner goals. As long as management decisions are made deliberately with these two things in mind, you're unlikely to go wrong.
What's one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year?
I want to do a tour of "champion trees" in and around Sullivan County. If we can do that using a UNH van, that will be even better.
What’s the the coolest or most memorable moment you've had in the woods?
When I was working in Oregon in 1999, I came across a dead deer in the woods during a timber cruise. The mountain lion that had killed it was not too happy and came back to let me know about it. It wasn't too funny, but it was memorable.
What are you looking forward to in the coming months?
I'm looking forward to spending as much time in the woods as possible when the weather is so nice.
What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
Depending on the season, I like fishing, ice fishing, foraging for mushrooms, and hiking in the White Mountains and around the Sunapee area.
If you suddenly became a master at woodworking, what would you make?
I would make a big house and fill it with wooden furniture in order to store a lot of carbon indefinitely.
If you had to describe yourself as a forest animal, which one would it be?
I think I'd be a bear because I tend to be pretty active around dawn and dusk. I also have a rather diverse diet.
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
I don't really like ice cream (despite my answer to the previous question), but if I had to pick a flavor it would be black raspberry.
What was the last book you read or movie you saw?
I just read a book called Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem. A mudlark is someone who scours the tidal portions of the Thames River in London, looking for anything interesting. She finds all sorts of neat things from stone age tools through modern stuff, and everything in between. A few years ago I found a clay pipe here in New Hampshire, in the Pemigewasset River. I sent Lara a picture of it and she replied that it's likely from the 18th century.
Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? And what is that dish?
Dinner is my favorite meal. I make a lot of stews with fresh herbs and different meats and vegetables. This can be a great way to use whatever's left in the fridge.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Croatia was a perfect combination of historical sites, good food, beaches, and amazing natural wonders.
What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
I like to navigate using a compass and pacing. It works even when I don't have a good signal or my battery is done. It also reminds me of when I started my career out west in the 1990's, when it was still possible to get lost if you didn't know what you were doing.