Rayonier’s 2023 summer college interns share what their experiences were like in forestry and non-forestry roles.
Submitted by Rayonier
Originally published on Rayonier.com
Not every intern gets to present ideas to the senior leadership team of a publicly traded company—but at Rayonier, they do.
Rayonier offers internships across our ownership in the United States for both forestry and non-forestry roles. We treat our interns like part of the team, putting them in the center of whatever we’re working on, teaching them at every step and ensuring they experience a wide variety of careers. All of our summer interns are also invited to come together in our Wildlight, Florida, headquarters to work on a team project and meet our senior leaders.
Our interns share what their experiences were like at Rayonier:
Portfolio Management Intern Manisha Parajuli, Auburn University
Manisha Parajuli stands in a forest between two Rayonier employees, learning to inspect pine trees through the lens of a drone.
“Want to see how to take a selfie from the air?” asks Sara Bellchamber, a Land Information Systems tech analyst who heads up Rayonier’s drone pilots team.
“Smile!” says Research Biometrician Stephanie Patton, an expert in forest growth and yield modeling.
To Manisha, a PhD candidate at Auburn University with a passion for research that solves problems in the forestry industry, this is exactly why she chose Rayonier for her summer internship. She’s learning to use new technologies, exploring economic opportunities around forest resources, and supporting sustainable forest management.
Over the course of her internship, she has done research for the company; gained firsthand experience in timberland valuation; predicted forest growth and biomass volume; analyzed data; did mapping work in GIS; and delved into various projects with the company’s portfolio management team.
“They make sure you learn something new every day,” Manisha says. “I am confident that the new skill set I learned here is truly valuable for my career. Everyone is inspiring in so many ways, and I am glad that I have been able to interact with different business teams in the office. It’s a great opportunity to learn and make new connections with people who share the same interests as yours and who will support you beyond your internship.”
Forestry Intern Lane Harvey, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
“It’s amazing how differently you can look at a forest depending on whose truck you’re in,” Lane Harvey reflects during a ride-along with a Rayonier forester.
He had seen the forest through the eyes of a land management forester, who had shown him how to think about replanting and maintaining a forest through decades of growth. Now riding with a timber marketing forester, he’s learning how to work through the process of getting the most value for the timber when it’s time to harvest.
It’s exactly the kind of real-life training Lane, a Natural Resource Management major at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, was hoping for when he applied for a Rayonier internship:
“I had been told that Rayonier does a good job of diversifying the kind of work that their interns do,” he says. “It’s not all just cruising, cruising, cruising, doing one thing. They do a really good job of trying to spread you out and get you into different places. They really educate you, too, while they do it.”
During the course of his internship, he’ll work in timber sales, paint streamside management zone boundary lines, build maps and meet all kinds of people. By the end of the summer, he still won’t know exactly what he wants to do in forestry, but he’ll know where he’d like to do it.
“I would definitely like to work at Rayonier,” he says. “Everyone that I’ve talked to, everyone I’ve worked with, they’re always super helpful, super nice. Anything you need, they’re ready to help you succeed and learn.”
GIS Intern Erin O’Grodnick, University of North Florida
It’s a beautiful, sunny morning when Erin O’Grodnick laces up her running shoes. She sets out for a jog on the trail system that surrounds Rayonier’s headquarters in Wildlight, crossing former tree farms and wetlands that are now part of the Wildlight Community built by Rayonier’s real estate team.
About 40 members of the Rayonier team are there with the University of North Florida biology major, participating in the annual Wildlight 5K. Wearing the Rayonier team T-shirt, Erin absolutely feels like part of the team.
“The people at Rayonier are the kindest people you’re going to meet,” she says. “I was expecting to just kind of talk to the same people every day, but everybody is so open to telling you what they do. I’ve talked to the executives, I’ve talked to people who work in the woods every day, people who do real estate, and everybody is just so welcoming and patient to show you what they do, show you how to do it. It’s just an awesome culture.”
For Erin, it’s been an eye-opening experience. Before her internship, she didn’t know a lot about forestry but she wanted to work with a GIS team. By the end of the internship, she had decided to forgo her plan to be a research biologist and pursue a natural resources career instead.
“I came here and I learned about this whole new career field. Now I’m really passionate about forestry and the economics of sustainable resources,” she says.
Asked what she would say to future intern candidates, she advises: “If you’re considering applying to Rayonier, you should 100% do it. Once you’re here, the people are going to welcome you and foster your growth.”
How to Apply for a Rayonier Internship
“If you’re looking for a place where you can make a difference in the world, Rayonier is that place,” says HR Specialist Ebony Presha, who manages Rayonier’s internship program. “Our interns are directly in the middle of the action. They have an opportunity to really get involved with projects and to really contribute to the company on a day-to-day basis.”
She notes that many interns go on to become Rayonier employees. In fact, one of Rayonier’s top forestry team leaders, Georgia Resource Unit Operations Director Morris Bradford, was an intern in the 1990s! Rayonier offers internships to college students in forestry and research professions as well as support roles such as accounting, IT and communications. To learn more about how the Rayonier internship program works, you can visit https://www.rayonier.com/intern.
Rayonier (NYSE:RYN) is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. We own or lease under long-term agreements approximately 2.8 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. South, U.S. Pacific Northwest and New Zealand. We are More than trees because we recognize that our 90+ years of success in the timberland industry comes from our people, an empowering culture and the courage to constantly challenge “the way it’s always been done.” Get to know us at www.rayonier.com.
More from Rayonier