Forest ecosystem management student awarded Railway Tie Association scholarship

Christopher Sabol

Christopher Sabol, a forest ecosystem management student, has been a forestry intern with the Pennsylvania Game Commission for two years. He found this elk antler while out marking timber.

Credit: Christopher Sabol

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Christopher Sabol, a forest ecosystem management major in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was awarded the John Mabry Forestry Scholarship from the Railway Tie Association. He received $2,000 to put toward his tuition for this academic year.

Sabol, a junior from Morrisdale, graduated from Penn State Mont Alto with an associate degree in forest technology. He then relocated to University Park to pursue his bachelor’s degree and plans to graduate this fall.

Sabol said he has been passionate about the outdoors since childhood, and his academic career is a natural progression of his interests.

“I always knew I wanted to work in the woods,” he said. “Hunting and fishing have been a huge part of my life. Growing up I wanted to be a game warden, but once I figured out that I would have to work during hunting season, I decided forestry was the best option for me.”

Along with his classes, Sabol serves as a forestry intern with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He said the experience is teaching him a lot about managing forests for wildlife habitat. His day-to-day duties vary from marking timber to helping with the commission’s annual bear trapping and tagging efforts.

While at Penn State Mont Alto, Sabol served as the Forestry Club’s vice president and was a member of the Woodsmen Team. Additionally, he represented the campus in the Forestry Quiz Bowl during the 2019 Society of American Foresters National Convention in Kentucky.

“This scholarship and another that I received have helped keep me in school, especially with everything else going on this year,” he said. “It’s harder to learn something hands-on like forestry when you’re on Zoom, but it’s worth it. The more effort you put into something like your education, the more you’ll get out of it.”

Craig Houghton, associate teaching professor and forest technology program coordinator at Penn State Mont Alto, said he was proud to recommend Sabol for the scholarship.

“He did excellent forestry field work, worked well in team and group situations, and has focused on gaining forestry experience interning with the Pennsylvania Game Commission,” Houghton said. “Chris is an honest, hardworking, respectable citizen and will do very well in his forestry career.”

The Railway Tie Association was organized in 1919. Its mission is to promote economical and eco-friendly uses of wood crossties through research, forest management, timber resource conservation, timber processing, wood preservation and industry safety.

To meet the long-term challenges of supporting the railroad industry, the association seeks to support future industry leaders with its two annual scholarships. Applications are reviewed with emphasis placed on scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, career objectives and financial need.