When Shane Baker, 2011 Haywood Community College Forest Management Technology graduate, decided to go back to school, he chose HCC because he knew the classes were hands-on.

“It paid off,” Baker says. “I had an advantage over others that did not receive the hands-on training I did. Everything I learned at Haywood is applicable on my job.”

Baker is the Assistant County Ranger for Buncombe County with the North Carolina Forest Service. He says the most enjoyable part of his job is the variety. As a ranger, he may fight wildfires, address water quality issues, teach educational classes to everyone from firefighters to school age children, help landowners with forest management, or many other varied tasks.

Before coming to HCC, Baker earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from UNC Chapel Hill. It is his hope to one day bridge the two degrees.

Baker says the reputation HCC has in the Natural Resources field is great. “I run into people everywhere that are familiar with HCC natural resources programs. The school has great connections. People hold both the Forestry and Fish and Wildlife Programs in high regards.”

According to Baker, the school is located in a great place. “I really enjoyed my time at Haywood. I like the smaller class sizes and the location of the college to so many parks makes it a great place to get volunteer experience.”