Pause for a moment after you’ve glanced through the newsmagazine and reflect on the breadth and depth of our work around the world and across the commonwealth: from Antarctica to Botswana, from the Galápagos to India, and from rural to urban Virginia. Taking a satellite view, you can visualize the carbon in the soil, sharks in the ocean, and tornadoes sweeping the Great Plains. Our faculty are engaged in important work, fascinating work, and inspired – and inspiring – work.

Much of what you read in this issue takes our students beyond the traditional classroom and into the realm of hands-on learning experiences. These are extraordinary opportunities. CNRE students traveled across Virginia to see manufacturing in action, they put on their boots and got them muddy in fieldwork, and they conquered capstone experiences that required them to apply an entire degree program’s knowledge. We are proud of our student-focused environment.

One constant and ongoing area of focus for our students and faculty is forests. They are complex ecosystems, and learning about them requires many courses and many years of study. Students in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation begin their studies with a landscape scale view, but also learn about the individual trees, plant and animal communities, macroinvertebrates in streams, and the carbon in the trees, soil, and water. From micro to macro, our students bring it all together in a senior capstone experience we highlight in this issue. I say it all the time: we still do forestry and all things associated with forests, and this work is critical for our planet. Trees, forests, and the benefits they afford to humanity will always be a focus of our work in the college.

We celebrated commencement in May; it never ceases to be a joyous time of celebration for us, our students, and their families. Please hire our students – they are exceptionally prepared to make a difference in your organization. The job market is strong, and students are meeting with great success in finding opportunities for summer work, internships, and permanent employment. 

We also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the college. Founding Honorary Dean John Hosner’s vision became a reality in 1991-1992, and we have continued to build on that foundation, creating and realizing new opportunities every day. 

As Virginia Tech aspires to become a globally recognized land grant institution, the faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and friends of the College of Natural Resources and Environment are making tremendous strides and contributions toward that goal. Like a forest community, our people are more than just individual trees. We are a complex community of scholars, students, and supporters, working and interacting in a coordinated system like natural resources and the environments they comprise. We are young and old, tall and not-so-tall. We represent different kinds of trees, and we have deep roots and wide branches. We contribute to our college community and the community that is Virginia Tech, and we are better together. Join us on our continued journey into the future.

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul Winistorfer