Forest Insect and Disease Newsletter

Forest Health Unit News:

Ed Hayes retired in April of 2010

After working for 31 years as a Regional Forest Health Specialist, Ed retired last April. He received an MS in Plant Pathology from Virginia Tech. and moved his family to Minnesota. He was stationed in Rochester and, as the boundaries of the Forestry Regions changed, he eventually covered the southern half of the state including the Twin Cities. Ed loved doing field calls in rural and urban forests and doing hazard tree work. Training was Ed’s forte. For the past few years he hosted an Arborist Conference in Rochester each summer.


photo: Photo of Ey Hayes finding hickory bark beetles

Ed Hayes finding hickory bark beetles.

Alan Jones retired in December, 2010

Excerpted from the DNR Forestry Roots Newsletter

photo: Al Jones working in the woods

Alan Jones on the right, looking for root decay fungi in Sand Dunes State Forest.

When Al Jones graduated from Colorado State University, only the Wisconsin DNR was hiring. There, Al did inventory and soon became the county forester in the La Crosse area. Because of Al's degrees in plant pathology and forestry, he easily jumped into one of the four new forest pest positions at the Minnesota DNR in 1977. He assumed that his field experience in southwest Wisconsin would land an assignment in Rochester. When the DNR assigned him to Bemidji, all he could do was laugh. He'd never heard of Bemidji! As it turned out, it was a great place to live and raise a family.

photo: Al Jones

Al spent 18 years as the regional forest health (pest) specialist in the northwest region, including one year as the area forester in Blackduck. He most enjoyed the education involved with the job. In fact, no one knew that Minnesota had any pest problems until the DNR hired the pest group to "educate" folks about bugs and rot. He particularly liked to shock the field by showing up and testing staff on their pest knowledge. While some test subjects may forget Al, they sure won't forget some of those test questions.

In 1994, Al became the 'aesthetic and cultural program coordinator" and moved to Grand Rapids. Al helped develop the contract for the first Division of Forestry archaeologist and define the contractor's role with Forestry. He was also part of the team that developed the Minnesota Forest Resources Council's site level guidelines and their educational "roll out."

During this time, Al worked mostly with clientele outside the division. He wanted to engage more closely with his forestry colleagues and soon became the area forester in Alexandria. This move brought his forestry career full circle, starting and finishing his work with private landowners in hardwood country. Yet St. Paul called again. Al jumped into the development program supervisor position because he yearned for a chance to lead and affect two of his passions: silviculture and forest health. And so, after his short stint in Alex, he and his wife moved to St. Paul so Al could become the silviculture, lands, and roads supervisor.

Of all of Al's positions, he found the silviculture supervisor job the most challenging and fulfilling. Here, he could attempt to change the things he was always critical of when he was in the field. However, in reality, talking about change is a lot easier than making change. He found that small, incremental changes actually do work, because no one sees small changes sneaking up on them. Old age courts patience that youth never imagined. His personal rewards came from working with and helping to develop his program coordinators. In them, Al saw the division's future leadership, and is confident that the division is in good hands.

What's next? He might do some "counting flowers on the wall and playing solitaire till dawn (with a deck of 51)," but Al and his wife have headed south to volunteer in Seminole Canyon State Park along the Texas Rio Grande River. Both have always worked toward this goal— volunteering in state and federal parks. They will maintain a home in Minnesota but hope to travel often. Let their kids and grandkids visit them for a change. Al most enjoys learning about the cultural and natural history of park areas and sharing that information with others. The future looks grand when one gets excited to learn and teach. For Al, it's like being a forest pest specialist back in Bemidji. Al hopes park visitors are ready for tests.