GSC Exploration Day a hit

Glenville State College Associate Professor of Forestry  Dr. Brian Perkins, second from right, demonstrates how to properly slice into wood to expose its pores at the GSC Natural Resource Exploration Day Saturday in Huntersville. S. Stewart photo
Glenville State College Associate Professor of Forestry Dr. Brian Perkins, second from right, demonstrates how to properly slice into wood to expose its pores at the GSC Natural Resource Exploration Day Saturday in Huntersville. S. Stewart photo

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

It was a beautiful day Saturday as Glenville State college Land Resources Department members gathered in Huntersville to host its first ever Natural Resource Exploration Day.

Staff and students spent the day sharing information about the department with potential students and family members. Professors from the four sections of the department – Forest Technology, Landman Technology, Land Surveying and Environmental Science – gave demonstrations of what it is like to be a student at GSC.

Associate Professor of Forestry Dr. Rico Gazal said the event is the first of its kind and he hoped it would shed light on the one-of-a-kind education students may get at GSC.

“A lot of our programs are very unique at Glenville,” he said. “Like, for example, oil and gas, surveying – there’s no other program in the state that has surveying. Oil and gas, too. It’s also the only two-year forestry program in the state.”

Other colleges in the state do have forestry and environmental science programs, but what sets Glenville apart is it strives to be as hands-on as possible.

“Our main thing here is an all hands-on approach to learning,” Gazal said. “The majority of our classes are in the field. We go out and show the students how to do this and that. I like that. It’s learning by doing.”

GSC was drawn to Pocahontas County for its exploration day in part because Pocahontas County High School forestry teacher Scott Garber is an alumni and encourages his students to consider attending Glenville – an encouragement a lot of his students take to heart.

“I think it’s a good connection that they know Scott Garber,” Academic Laboratory Instructional assistant Tom Snyder said. “They can trust Scott. For the last four or five years, I’ve been going to [PCHS] in February or March to talk to the timber harvesting class. I’ll show them videos of the Glenville students cutting trees. I talk to them about wildlife management.”

Along with the department members, two PCHS alums – Lyndsee Gay and Drew Caloccia – were on-hand to talk to students and share their own experiences of attending Glenville.

Gay, a junior, was a member of the PCHS forestry team which won first place at state competition and second place at national competition in 2014.

Taking into consideration her success in the field and her love of the outdoors, Gay knew GSC would be a good fit for her.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors ever since I was a little kid,” she said. “Then through Scott Garber’s forestry classes, I just found out I had a knack for it, and he talked up Glenville because that’s where he went.”

While college students don’t compete, Gay remains active as the president of the Forestry Club.

Fellow junior Caloccia found his way to Glenville in much the same way. He enjoyed taking classes to Garber and decided he wanted to pursue a career in forestry.

“[Garber] said I would do really well in it, so that’s why I decided to pursue it,” he said. “Glenville is a good place. You actually get to talk to your professors. I know all my professors really well. It’s a little better atmosphere.”

Both Gay and Caloccia agree that Glenville is a good fit for students who like the atmosphere of a small school in a small town, much like PCHS.

“In the classes, you get a one-on-one interaction with your professor,” Gay said. “That’s helped me a lot. Glenville looks a lot like here. It’s a little country town. It’s a small town just like Marlinton. It’s easy for the kids to get acclimated.”

“It reminds you of back home,” Caloccia agreed. “All the professors at Glenville are there to help you. No matter who I talk to, they always try to help me out. It’s a good place to come and a good place to learn. It’s kind of like Pocahontas County.”

Gay is pursuing a degree in forest technology with a minor in agriculture business, and Caloccia is pursing a degree in forest technology. Both hope they will be able to return to Pocahontas County and enter the workforce.

Along with discussions about the school and what it takes to become a student, professors had stations set up for demonstrations. Snyder had a display of animal pelts and traps, and discussed the ins and outs of trapping. Dr. Brian Perkins showed participants how to find the differences in types of woods.

There were also soil and water analysis stations, land fundamentals and a geocache treasure hunt using a GPS.

Other members of the department are Dr. Milan Vavrek, Adam Black, Jared Wilson, Rick Witte and Ashley Reed.

The event was sponsored by Waco Oil and Gas.

For more information on Glenville State College, visit www.glenville.edu

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