In the Woods with Greg Jordan, Rockingham County Forester

Greg with his daughter in front of forestry equipment

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: Greg Jordan

Title: Rockingham County Forester, Natural Resources Field Specialist

Start Date at Extension: October 2017

What brought you to Extension?

The opportunity for "kitchen table talks." That is, the chance to sit down with landowners and help them figure out what it is about their land that is important to them. Then, I get to help them figure out how to achieve those goals.

How would your 10-year old self react to what you do?   

A little surprised, I think. The 10 year old me expected to be a professional baseball player. I was also a quiet kid and the younger me probably wouldn't believe how much public speaking I do for work.

What originally got you interested in your current field of work?

When I was very young, maybe 4, my grandmother bought me an Audubon Society Beginner Guide to Birds and Guide to Wildflowers. I remember watching birds with her from her dining room window. I also recall her scolding me for bring home a gypsy moth caterpillar as a pet from school. That was around 1983 or 1984. Later, my dad and I spent weekends hiking in the White Mountains. He taught me to use a map and compass, and I became very comfortable hiking off trails. By freshman year in high school I had already decided on a career in the outdoors. The decision to become a forester came shorty after when someone told me, "if you're a forester you can drive your pickup to work everyday and take your dog." But, I have a cat so I leave her at home.

Who is a forester who you look up to or who has inspired you?

When I first got out of forestry school, it was very tough finding a job "marking trees." The first forester that gave me a chance to work in the woods was Ken Desmarais, formerly with the NH Division of Forests and Lands. When I think of Ken I think of the saying, "if you're going to do the job, do it right." Ken inspired me to always hold myself to the highest standards in my work as a forester.

What energizes you and brings you excitement?

To accomplish something as a team. That's one of the reasons I like working with UNH Cooperative Extension.

Which NH tree species is the most underrated or has a bad reputation? 

I would say eastern hemlock. It can be a lot of work for logging contractors to process harvested trees, has fairly low timber value, and the lumber can be a little tricky to work with. Aesthetically, I think it is one of our prettiest trees. It's also important for wildlife. That's the reason I'm worried about hemlock wooly adelgid and elongate hemlock scale.

If there was one thing you would want landowners to know, what would it be?

To proceed with forest management thoughtfully and deliberately. As long as the land is open, it will recover; however, it can take years to rehabilitate a forest following exploitative harvesting.

What's one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year? 

To get back to teaching more in-person. I'm actually a fan of virtual meetings but it's nice to be able to connect with people on a more personal level.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you in the woods or the coolest/memorable moment?

I wonder if Steve Roberge, Extension Forestry Specialist, remembers this? Years ago, we were doing research together at UNH's Jones Property in Milton. While walking between study sites we unknowingly passed right over a fawn that was bedded down. The fawn stood up and let out what I can only describe as an almost unbelievably loud bleating noise. I'm not sure about Steve, but I nearly jumped out of my boots. The fawn trotted away and we could hear the doe off in the woods.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

Putting the windows down in my pickup as I drive around Rockingham County.

What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?

At home with my family. If I have a home improvement project to work, that's even better.

If you suddenly became a master at woodworking, what would you make?

I would become a luthier and make a ukele.

If you had to describe yourself as a forest animal, which one would it be?

My daughter says a red fox.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cherry vanilla.

What was the last book you read or movie you saw?

I like movies, but can't remember the last time I watched one. I recently re-read Our Last Backpack: A Memoir (Hiking & Climbing) by Daniel Doan. 

Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? 

Lunch. Preferably in the woods. I think leftovers make the best lunches.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

I'm not well-traveled. I think it's time for a road trip. I'd like to see some more of our National Parks.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Lay out boundary lines. I can never quite understand how foresters do this with a GPS unit. I use a sighting compass and a hip-chain (aka string box). It's very satisfying to run a compass line a quarter mile through deep snow, dig down, and find the pin your were looking for.

Interested in walking your woodlot with Greg? You can contact him at greg.jordan@unh.edu or (603) 679-5616.

Meet our other County Foresters