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UAM Student trades Louisiana Swamp for Arkansas Forests

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Gavin Clements was never really exposed to pine forests while growing up. Where Gavin comes from in south Louisiana, it’s mostly swamps and marshes. So, it might seem strange that he would come to the University of Arkansas at Monticello and major in forestry.

Clements came to UAM from Thibodaux, Louisiana, on a partial scholarship to play football for the Boll Weevils. Clements is a sophomore offensive lineman on the Weevil football team. Since his football scholarship is only a partial award, Clements was looking for other financial opportunities. He received an email from Dr. Matthew Pelkki encouraging him to apply to the Arkansas Forestry Association Education Foundation.

Pelkki wrote in a letter to the scholarship committee:

“Last year, during the fall semester, Gavin came to my office and wanted to talk about careers in forestry and what kind of work he would be doing as a forester. We had a fairly long discussion. The next day, two of Gavin’s friends asked to see me and told me that Gavin had told them of the exciting opportunities a degree in forestry offered.

 

These two students were asking about transferring to the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

 

“I don’t know if they actually followed through with the transfer, but I was impressed that Gavin was so enthusiastic about his major that he told his friends about it. That is the kind of person Gavin is. He is very responsible and respectful, humble and enthusiastic. He has all the personal traits one would want in a professional forester, and he has the energy and enthusiasm to undertake a very demanding academic program while participating in collegiate athletics.”

In addition, Clements said hurricane Ida recently hit his parents’ home and that this Arkansas Forestry Association scholarship would help him from applying for a loan. He was beyond thrilled when he learned he had received the $1000 Arkansas Forestry Association Scholarship for the fall 2021 semester. To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be majoring in Natural Resources with a declared option of Forestry. The student must also have a minimum grade point average of 2.75. Clements has a 3.61 while taking a heavy course load. 

“Gavin is on the football team, and as you can imagine, the time commitment required of any student-athlete is extremely high, and the travel times often conflict with courses meaning lectures and labs that have to be made up, often with the student lacking the full benefit of in-class instruction,”, said Pelkki.

 

In addition, a short statement about why the applicant is interested in forestry is required.

In his application, Clements wrote:

“I’m interested in the field of forestry because the forest is one of the most important things in keeping this planet going. Forest supports millions of creatures and plants. Without the forest, many activities like hunting and camping wouldn’t exist. That’s why we must conserve the forest and keep it for future generations.

 

The award will be announced at this week’s Arkansas Forestry Association state meeting in Rogers Thursday. However, since Clements has football commitments with a game upcoming Saturday, he won’t receive the award in person. Luckily the scholarship check arrived last week. College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources dean Michael Blazier presented the check outside the Clippert Forest Annex.

About the College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center

The College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, a University of Arkansas System Center of Excellence, brings together interdisciplinary expertise through a partnership between the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. The College and Center are headquartered at the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus, but their programs range statewide with the mission of developing and delivering teaching, research, and extension programs that enhance and ensure the sustainability and productivity of forest-based natural resources and agricultural systems. Academic programs are delivered by the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources through the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, research is administered by the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, and extension and outreach activities are coordinated by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offer all of their programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and are Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employers.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Work for the University of Arkansas at Monticello in the College of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources

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