Paul Footen, Natural Resources Adjunct Faculty
Paul’s love of nature started early and never faltered. He spent his childhood on 100 acres in a small farming community in southwestern West Virginia. Free to explore, he roamed the hardwood forest in the hills around the family farmhouse. During high school in Tucson, Arizona he began to form an interest in natural sciences and ecological systems. The Southwest introduced him to a new landscape, often stark and extreme, and it sharpened his fascination with nature. After high school he relocated to Washington State where he found the most majestic environment he’d ever explored. With family and new friends, he discovered mountain ranges and first growth forests, active volcanoes, glaciers, crystal clear rivers and salmon spawning streams, high desert, lush grasslands, farmland, and the wild Pacific Ocean, camping and backpacking and falling in love again and again with the lush Pacific Northwest.
Nature and family weren’t all that drew Paul to the Seattle area. He’s a musician and dreamed of starting a band and building a career as a guitarist and song writer. To pay the bills he worked in restaurant and construction management, while every semester he signed up for horticulture and plant biology courses at Edmonds Community College. Numerous concerts and club gigs and several bands later, a music career seemed unlikely and he shifted his focus back to his abiding interest – natural sciences – and enrolled in Bellevue College.
Juggling night classes, day classes, and full-time jobs he earned an Associate Degree in 2005 with most credits in environmental science and botany. That same year, admitted to the University of Washington (UW), Paul joined the Forestry program, and took his first soils class where he recognized his true love, soils sciences. He earned a BS in Forest Resources (2007) and an MS in Forest Soils (2011). While at the UW, his research projects focused on long-term effects of fertilization on subsequent rotations of Douglas-fir forests and the effects of various logging methods on nutrient cycling in soils across a multitude of industrial forestlands throughout the PNW region. He published peer-reviewed articles in several scientific journals. He taught Environmental Science, Intro to Soils, Soils and Land Use, and Native Plant ID. He worked as a Research Forestry Technician for the Stand Management Cooperative during summers surveying and reporting on industry stands across western WA and Oregon.
His rich experience at the UW not only prepared him well for his future career as a Forest Manager with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, but for forest education outreach programs and teaching in the Natural Resources program at Green River College. As Forest Manager, Paul oversees the sustainable harvest of 12 million board-feet annual and manages nearly 50,000 acres of State Trust Lands in the Snoqualmie region, Washington’s most populated area. Because of the population density and his philosophy that Forestry is largely a social science, he increased public education and outreach to the Snoqualmie community. His department opens up State lands as outdoor classrooms and offers guided tours and guest lectures to students from universities and colleges in our region.
“Connecting people with nature and to the land has become one of my passions. I look forward to sharing my experience and knowledge with students at Green River College. My goal is to facilitate positive, exciting, and inspiring connections with the natural world.”