Forest technology students and faculty gathered in the Weistling Student Center yesterday evening to watch the Maurice Goddard documentary on WITF TV. The documentary gave a fascinating portrait of Goddard, who, in a long career at Penn State and for the Commonwealth of PA, was the acknowledged architect of much of the State's forest and parks conservation policy. He worked tirelessly to expand the number of state parks so that everyone in Pennsylvania would be within 25 miles of a state park. Instrumental in securing funding for conservation projects, he led efforts in flood prevention and control.
Goddard began his career as an instructor at Penn State Mont Alto after graduating from the University of Maine, in 1935. Eventually, he became the director of Mont Alto before leading the entire School of Forest Resources.
Goddard served as a staff officer in WWII and brought that sense of military discipline to the life of the forestry school. One interviewee, Jim Nelson, told the story of how Goddard made ties mandatory for meals. No tie and no food. Nelson told how the students, after a day of hard field work, would put on a clip-on bow tie before entering the dining hall. At the time meals were served in Weistling Hall, which is where we were watching the film.
The show was an inspirational reminder of the importance of public service for all foresters at any point in their career. Click here to see the trailer.