MONTICELLO, AR – Congressman Westerman visited with School of Forestry and Natural Resources students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello on February 18th. Congressman Westerman represents the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas and is the only current congressman with a degree in forestry.
After hearing Congressman Westerman speak at the Ouachita Society of American Foresters Conference, Dr. Laurie Gharis worked with Mr. Ben Gilmore, a University of Arkansas at Monticello alumni, to arrange a time for him to visit campus and to meet with students.
Congressman Westerman spoke about his work on the Committee of Natural Resources and challenges facing natural resources and forestry in Arkansas and the United States. His speech focused on the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015. This bi-partisan legislation was developed to give the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service the tools it needs to manage our Nation’s forests. The Act made it through the United States House of Representatives in July of 2015 and is now with the United States Senate.
The students and faculty appreciated the opportunity to hear Congressman Westerman speak about natural resources as assets that we want to keep healthy for the next generation. Congressman Westerman highlighted the benefits of healthy forests such as water quality, air quality, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat and emphasized the need for proactive, collaborative, and sound management of our Nation’s forests.
Very few students have the opportunity to interact with United States congressmen, especially congressmen who possess the same degrees. In appreciation of Congressman Westerman’s time, The Wildlife Society presented him with a handmade bird house.
For more information, contact Dr. Laurie Gharis, Assistant Professor for the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s School of Forestry and Natural Resources, at (870) 460-1732.