Meet your Nebraska State Forester

State Forester John Erixson points to hardwood stand in Cedar Canyon.

Before coming to the Nebraska Forest Service (NFS), John Erixson, a Nebraska native, spent more than 20 years managing natural resources in Idaho for a private consulting firm. He holds bachelor and master's degrees in resource management from the University of Idaho. He is an active member of several regional and national organizations, including the Nebraska Riparian Task Force, National Association of State Foresters, and Western Forestry Leadership Coalition

"There is an impressive legacy of forest stewardship in Nebraska.” Erixson said. "A large part of my role starts with serving Nebraskans and giving back to my home state.”

Erixson assumed leadership of the forest service at a challenging time. The emerald ash borer was discovered in Omaha in June 2016, and has since been confirmed in Lincoln and Fremont. It’s expected to destroy most of Nebraska's green ash trees as it spreads across the state. In response, NFS has been at the forefront of ash wood utilization, finding new and innovative ways to prevent wood waste and explore new markets. This spring, NFS’ fire program was pivotal in supplying volunteer fire departments with the vehicles and equipment they needed to assist in flood recovery efforts.

“We exist to help Nebraska communities in any way we can – be it fire prevention, forestry health, or environmental education. It’s our purpose.” Erixson said. “I’m optimistic when I see the work our staff does every day to accomplish that. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

More about John:

o             What was your first position in the field of forestry? Timber Cruiser

o             How long have you been in your role? About 19 months

o             What is your favorite hobby? Woodworking

o             What is your favorite tree? Grand fir

o             What is your favorite outdoor activity? Hunting on the family ranch

o             What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? Either an electrician or a pilot.