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Provost Jones reflects on Forestry and Environment Conservation facility

Clemson News // Courtesy
Jones graduated from Clemson in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in forest management.

As construction continues for the new Forestry and Environment Conservation facility, Provost Bob Jones holds high hopes for the building and the future of the forestry industry.

Jones, who graduated from Clemson in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in forest management and again in 1981 with a Master of Science in forestry, was a student in the early days of Lehotsky Hall, which currently houses the Department of Forestry and Environment Conservation.

In an interview with The Tiger, Jones explained that he enjoyed his time at Clemson because of the unique ability to take classes with students who were also interested in forestry, an experience that his high school had previously been unable to provide.

As a result, when the opportunity arose to construct a new facility in a signature on-campus location off of Perimeter and Cherry roads, Jones was immediately on board.

“We really needed to have a nice signature building that makes a statement about the profession,” Jones told The Tiger in an interview. “I think the visual representation of that prominent spot will help elevate the importance and visibility of forestry programs here.”

For Jones, the Clemson Experimental Forest and its proximity to campus were key factors in his decision to attend the university. The new facility will offer an even shorter commute, providing students and faculty with more opportunities for on-the-ground research.

“Most other schools don’t have a forest the size of ours, nor one that’s right next to campus, so there’s almost no time to be in the field,” Jones said. “But for us, jump in a van, and in 10 to 15 minutes, you can be out in the forest.”

In addition to increased field research, the new Forestry and Environment Conservation building will allow enhanced application of Geographic Information Systems technologies.

“Back when I was here, we had to hand-draw maps and do surveying on the ground with all sorts of old technologies,” Jones told The Tiger. “But now you can take all of this geographic information and do all kinds of sophisticated analyses about the land, the forest and the soil types and make sophisticated plans about how to manage that for whatever purpose you want.”

As more facets of the forestry industry continue to develop, Jones is hopeful that the enhanced capabilities of the new building will accommodate those changes and attract even more promising students to the program.

“The dimensions of this degree and all the things that you can do with it become very complicated because forestry can draw in lots of people with lots of different interests,” Jones said to The Tiger. “The new building is certainly going to help us because we’ll be competing with other universities for top talent, so we especially want to make sure that our facilities help the best students come to us.”

Construction officially began on the new facility on April 15 and is scheduled to be completed in 2026, according to Clemson News.

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