Family Forest Blog

Forester Spotlight: Ethan Ragan

American Forest Foundation

April 9, 2024

This week, we're highlighting Ethan Ragan in our Forester Spotlight series. Ethan is an Outreach Forester with the Family Forest Carbon Program. He collaborates with landowners to steward healthy, native ecosystems and forests. He's based in Minnesota and enjoys working with landowners throughout the area.

Ethan Ragan

States: Northern MN and WI 

Educational Background: BS in Wildlife Biology with minors in Ornithology & Veterinary Medicine (University of Minnesota) and MS in Outdoor Education (University of Edinburgh) 

Ethan Ragan

Ethan Ragan, AFF's Outreach Forester, on a winter hike.

Ethan grew up in Rochester, Minnesota where he took as many opportunities as he could to get out of town and explore what Minnesota and Wisconsin had to offer. Much of his youth, prior to college, was spent in the driftless zone of the upper Midwest where he gained a fascination with the unique landscape. Once he was able to drive, many weekends were spent on Minnesota’s Northshore exploring the Superior Hiking Trail and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This time led to the pursuit of a Wildlife Biology degree from the University of Minnesota to help give back to the state that introduced me to the greater conservation movement. 

After undergraduate school, Ethan moved to northern Utah to work with the Utah Conservation Corps doing Russian Olive and Tamarisk removal along Utah’s rural riverways. After finishing two seasons in Utah, Ethan moved back to Minnesota and began working as an Outdoor Guide taking a variety of folks paddling around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the Apostle Island. While guiding, Ethan found a passion for teaching about the natural world. This led to him moving to Edinburgh, Scotland to pursue a MS degree in Outdoor Education so that he had the tools to better help people engage with the outdoors in a new and informed way. Once he finished in Scotland, Ethan moved to central Oregon to work at the Hancock Field Station as an Outdoor Science Teacher working with students from a variety of places both local and international. 

Prior to coming to AFF, Ethan worked as a Field Coordinator with the Montana Conservation Corps. In this role he taught and worked with crews to build backcountry trails, learn how to operate crosscuts and chainsaws, and how to collect forest data for the USFS. While not in the backcountry, his time was spent in the Montana Prairie working with crews to build Beaver Dam Analogs to help restore the local water tables and riparian habitats. After finishing 3 seasons in Montana, Ethan came to AFF to help people engage with their woodland in an environmentally sustainable way that gives back to the planet. His favorite part about being an Outreach Forester with AFF is the opportunity teach landowners about their woodland while also learning about the history and memories landowners have of their forested areas. This is great because it builds a deep and rich story about a woodland that not many people get the opportunity to learn, let alone see.

Related Articles

American Forest Foundation Forester, Ian Forte, standing in West Virginian woods as he tells landowners about sustainable forest management practices.

August 29, 2023

Why Work With a Forester

Forests are complex and the number of things you'll need to consider as a landowner can be overwhelming. Many landowners have foresters put together a comprehensive management plan.

Read More

March 28, 2022

Forester Spotlight: Sarah Hall

Sarah's passion for forests started at a very young age. After having witnessed the impacts of human development on forestland, she's dedicated her career to helping landowners preserve their forestland for future generations and being a trusted resource throughout their journey.

Read More

October 10, 2023

Forester Spotlight: Brittany VanderWall

This week, we’re highlighting Brittany VanderWall in our Family Forest Carbon Program forester series. Brittany works with landowners throughout Michigan.

Read More