In the Woods with Jim Frohn, Grafton County Forester

Jim Frohn in the woods

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: Jim Frohn

Title: Grafton County Forester, Natural Resources Field Specialist

Start Date at Extension: December 2015

What brought you to Extension?

 My enjoyment of teaching people about forestry.

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

Cool!

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

Spending time camping, hiking, canoeing, and fishing as a kid, and more specifically my brother going into forestry. I was enrolled in wildlife management at the University of Maine and once visited my brother, a UMaine graduate, who was working as a field forester in northern Vermont. I helped him mark trees, flag water bars, and got to experience active logging operations. I changed my major after that. Prior to joining Extension, I worked as a consulting forester, and a favorite aspect of that was teaching landowners about forestry. That teaching experience led to me applying for this position.

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

My brother, Greg. Also, Bill Leak, US Forest Service Research Forester and Bob Seymour, my silviculture professor at UMaine. 

What energizes you and brings you excitement?

A well-planned and executed silvicultural prescription and timber harvest that results in a healthy, vigorous, diverse forest that supports wildlife, recreation, and provides wood products and economic activity. One of the things I most appreciate about forestry is that it allows the harvest of wood, a fundamental building material of society, and the very next day, if not the same day that material is extracted, wildlife are using the site. I can't think of another material that can make that claim.

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

Beech. The beech bark disease has made a lot of beech undesirable, and it is a prolific sprouter that can dominate a site. However, there's something about a large, smooth-barked (i.e. healthy) beech that is inspiring to me. Especially if it has bear claw marks on it!

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

That no matter the condition or growth stage of your forest, as long as the land is allowed to grow into a forest, there are lots of opportunities to accomplish your goals.

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

Set up and administer a timber harvest on the Grafton County Forest.

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

Seeing bears in the woods is always cool and enjoyable. People ask me if I worry about encountering bears, but I really don't, and I've gotten quite close to some. I've been more worried about moose encounters. One memorable moment is when a calf moose really wanted to play with me. His mom had other ideas, and she basically escorted me out of the woods. I walked away and purposely found a steep bank to walk down so she might be less inclined to follow. She stood at the top and watched me go.

What are you looking forward to in the coming months?

Spring! But not the ticks that come with it. And hopefully more in-person workshops.

What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?

With my family.

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

A guitar. 

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

A bear. I might like hibernating in the dead of winter, but not for too long. And I'm definitely an omnivore - like a bear. I'll eat pretty much any food you put in front of me.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Anything chocolate

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

Movie - Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner? And what is that dish?

Breakfast - pancakes with maple syrup and sausage or bacon

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

The Maine coast. But I try to find interesting things wherever I go. There's always something interesting to see or learn about.

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

Read - there's something about holding an actual book in your hands instead of looking at a screen. 

I'm learning basket making, which is hard to do any other way than by hand. Eventually I want to harvest my own materials such as black ash and willow and make pack baskets, fishing creels, and other items.

Interested in walking your woodlot with Jim? You can contact him at jim.frohn@unh.edu or (603) 787-6944.

Meet our other county foresters