Clint Patterson, Forestry

Department of Forestry

Department of Forestry

Department of Forestry

Berea College currently manages 9,000 acres of forest land. The college offers both classes and outreach programs related to forestry. Education and demonstration serves as the structure for the management goals of:

  • Wood
  • Water
  • Wildlife
  • Recreation

The forestry effort began at the dawn of the American conservation movement. Berea College is a small private college with egalitarian ideals. It provides a unique setting and continues to offer low cost education to capable students with limited financial resources. There is still a commitment to the Southern Appalachian Region. We are beginning the second century of forestry practice in the United States. The period is marked by contentious debate over forest management. Perhaps, the greatest value of the Berea College Forest is as a resource to demonstrate and evaluate the results of long term forest management in the Southern Appalachian Region.


The purpose of the Forestry Department is to serve Berea College, in support of the Great Commitments that define the College’s larger mission, as follows:

  • To manage the Berea College Forest based on up-to-date forest science. This involves maintaining and improving physical facilities and records while enhancing, studying and utilizing varied resources. These resources include wood products, water, recreation and wildlife. This is to be accomplished with concern for the educational value and ecologic health of the Forest as well as the financial well being of the College.
  • To provide education and service to the Berea College community in forestry related matters.

Both purposes are stated given the significance that forest land management has to the southern Appalachian region and Berea College’s commitment to that region.


In 1897, Berea College initiated a forestry effort. This was the same year as the Forest Reserve Organic Act and the first College forestry degree programs in the United States began. The effort was initiated by Professor Silas C. Mason in the September, 1897. The goals were general forestry education offerings for the students and a source of wood and income for the College. Mason’s first step was to take horseback rides through the hills just east of Berea to locate suitable tracts of land to acquire. Berea College did not and does not offer a forestry degree program. Many Berea students have pursued advanced degrees and careers in:

  • forestry,
  • wildlife management
  • and other natural resource related fields.

This is as a result of the forestry, natural resources and biology classes offered at Berea.

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Berea College | 2047 Big Hill Rd. | Berea, KY 40403 | Email