Pictured are some of the members of the HCC timbersports team with College President Dr. Barbara Parker (in yellow vest). Taylor Mashburn, co-captain of the team is pictured far right, middle row. Watch Mashburn and others compete Saturday, March 30 at the Haywood County Fairgrounds. 

When Taylor Mashburn gears up for a timbersports event and puts the axe in her hand, she is on a mission. “I have to prove them wrong every time,” the vice president of Haywood Community College’s Society of American Foresters says.

Mashburn is talking about the fact that since she is a female in a traditionally male world of natural resources, she is showing everyone who will watch that females can impact not only the timbersports world but also the career field.

“I hope that every girl that comes to a woodsmen’s meet sees me and knows that they can do it too,” Mashburn explains.

Before becoming a student at HCC, Mashburn didn’t even know timbersports existed. In fact, she had never even heard about the sport. “But I tried it and I enjoyed it,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing but I learned the techniques and now I know when you are deliberate in your cuts and build the stamina, you can see the results.”

Mashburn is hopeful that other people who have never seen a woodsmen’s meet will come out and watch the team at the Mid-Atlantic Woodsmen’s Meet Saturday, March 30 at the Haywood County Fairgrounds. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. where five other teams will converge representing schools from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

“This is a unique event and is only hosted by HCC every six years,” Mashburn says.

Mashburn is a fish and wildlife student at HCC. Growing up in Murphy, she spent her time outdoors camping, fishing and hunting. Her goal is to become a wildlife technician so she can still spend her days outside.

HCC’s natural resources programs are designed to take the student out of the classroom and into the field where they can experience what it will be like when they enter the career. “When we were learning about salamanders, we went out and caught them. Just last week, we had a professional from the U.S. Department of Agriculture come into the classroom to talk about animal traps.”

The hands-on experience Mashburn and her classmates receive is preparing them for the next step.    

Tickets for the Mid-Atlantic Woodsmen’s Meet cost $5 for adults and are free for children 12 years old and under.

Registration for summer and fall semester is underway now. For more information about natural programs or registration, visit haywood.edu or email hcc-advising@haywood.edu.