Family Forest Blog

Forester Spotlight: Brittney Hartzell

Cristina Zepeda-Almazan

April 11, 2022

When you ask a landowner who they trust and go to to learn more about their woods, the frequent answer is their forester. Whether they are experienced stewards of their forest or just trying to figure out where to even begin, landowners go to foresters with their goals for their land and trust their forester to guide them along the process. 

Unfortunately, landowners will often face barriers in meeting with foresters, whether it be cost or lack of forester capacity, which can result in it taking months or years to schedule a consultation. The Family Forest Carbon Program, developed by the American Forest Foundation and The Nature Conservancy to help family forest owners to improve forest health and address climate change, wanted to help landowners overcome this barrier to action. To do this, AFF has expanded our staff to include foresters who are dedicated to supporting landowners interested in enrolling in the program. 

Take a second to meet one of our staff foresters who you’ll often find walking the trails with family forest owners in Pennsylvania, Brittney Hartzell.

Brittney Hartzell

State: Pennsylvania

Education: B.S. Environmental Science (Bloomsburg University); Certificate in Permaculture Design (Oregon State University); currently working on M.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

AFF_Forester_Brittney Hartzell

Sandwiched between Brittney’s family home and farmland were a creek and forest that she loved to play in as a kid. When she was 9, a developer bought the farmland and built townhouses. As a kid, she noticed that after the townhomes were built the stream went completely dry but didn’t truly understand why at the time.

Her love for nature and wildlife continued on and it was during her time studying environmental science that Brittney learned how the development caused the changes to the stream and how it negatively affected the forest and the ecosystem she grew up with.

After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Brittney worked as a Watershed Specialist at a local country conservation district working with landowners to help them achieve their property goals and coordinating several conservation projects including stream restoration, riparian buffer plantings, and creating pollinator habitat. Her experiences led her to pursue nonprofit work where she could work along like-minded people and would feel that she was making a difference. Now as a forester with the Family Forest Carbon Program, Brittney is excited to be a part of a program working with family forest owners to address climate change. She enjoys getting to walk forestland with landowners and learning about each landowner’s unique story.

She’s currently working to further her education by pursuing an M.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois and hopes to one day be a landowner herself. When not walking through the woods with landowners, Brittney enjoys spending her time bass fishing, kayaking, reading and spending time with her husband, Sean, and three dogs, Porter, Gimli and Peach.

Cristina Zepeda-Almazan

April 11, 2022

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