TFS Gathers at the SAF 2022 National Convention

Diana Satkauskas ‘24 MF, Annie Miller ‘23 MEM, Will Weinberg ‘22 MFS, and Julie Chen ‘24 MF wrap up a full day at the SAF 2022 National Convention in Baltimore.
December 6, 2022

Entering the Baltimore Convention Center’s doors for the Society of American Foresters 2022 National Convention is somewhat like walking through the local grocery store on a Sunday afternoon in your hometown. From hotel lobbies to the convention center to restaurants nearby, Yale foresters are recognizably everywhere. Over 20 students and staff members from The Forest School at YSE attended the SAF Convention in Baltimore, Maryland from September 20-24, 2022 with countless alumni.

After a pandemic hiatus, SAF returned to its in-person convention for the first time since 2019. For the majority of TFS students, this was their first time attending it in-person. Historically, the convention has been a space for our forestry students to connect with alumni, build comradery amongst themselves, search for internships and jobs, present their research, and otherwise explore the topics presented during the convention. It is also an opportunity for a side field trip—if we are so lucky!


TFS students and staff host an informational booth at the convention that also serves as a ‘home base’ for the group during the week.

While we regained our footing for an in-person event, the Yale Temperate Foresters student group organized student attendance, and we participated in the convention in the traditional ways we have in previous years—with an informational booth, alumni reception, and talks from student and alumni researchers.

Will Weinberg ‘22 MFS finishes answering audience questions after his master’s research presentation on “Establishing Silvopastures Increases Carbon Storage in The Northeastern U.S.”

Students and alumni gave the following talks:

  • Clara Pregitzer ‘20 PhD of the Natural Areas Conservancy gave a flash talk on “Natural Area Forests in US Cities: Opportunities and Challenges” and a talk on “Emerging Silvicultural Practices in Cities.”
  • Eliot Nagele ‘21 MF of the New York Botanical Garden delivered a talk on the “Changes in Forest Structure and Composition Over a Century of Urbanization and Development: Thain Family Forest, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY.”
  • Emily Dolhansky ‘18 MFS of the Bureau of Land Management delivered a talk on “Building Capacity for Federal Forest Management with Specialized Implementation Teams.”
  • Will Weinberg ‘22 MFS presented his master’s research on “Establishing Silvopastures Increases Carbon Storage in The Northeastern U.S.”
  • Nick Biemiller ‘18 MF of the Ruffed Grouse & American Woodcock Society gave a talk on “Dynamic Forest Restoration in the Southern Appalachians.”

Joe Orefice (left) serves as the emcee at the student-alumni reception, coordinating introductions and providing a ‘State of the School’ address.

Notably, on the final day of the convention, SAF held a “Special Policy Engagement Session: Let’s Talk Old-growth and Mature Tree Management” in response to the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s request for comments on inventorying and defining old-growth and mature forests under the Executive Order on Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies. SAF CEO Terry Baker ‘07 MF invited Yale Forests Director of Forest and Agricultural Operations Joe Orefice ‘09 MF to provide comments on old-growth and mature forest management on behalf of select TFS faculty and staff. Orefice delivered comments including that ‘mature’ and ‘old-growth’ should be distinctly defined from one another, the Forest Service and Department of Interior should provide historical contexts in their definitions and focus on protecting all forestlands, and to remind the public that forests have been human-influenced for millennia, with a special consideration needed now under climate change.


SAF CEO Terry Baker ‘07 MF (left) welcomes Joe Orefice ‘09 MF (center) to provide comments on behalf of The Forest School.