Division of Forestry partnering with West Virginia colleges to teach drone use

Gilmer

GLENVILLE, W.Va. – Students at Glenville State College met with members of the Division of Forestry on Thursday afternoon to learn more about the applications of drones in land management careers. GSC Professor Rico Gazal organized the presentation as part of the school’s efforts to incorporate them into their curriculum.

“Last fall I was able to get a grant from West Virginia HEPC and part of the grant is to actually purchase drones so we can integrate them into our classes,” said Gazal.

Division of Forestry Program Manager Rodger Ozburn has been coordinating the program across the state, and said the uses for the remotely-controlled vehicles are broad, and learning to use them can help keep workers safer, and do the job faster.

“Using unmanned aircraft on logging inspections, on fire management, in support of other programs that we do really are cost-saving and in many cases they eliminate the risk to our personnel,” said Ozburn.

Both Ozburn and Gazal see plenty of growth in the program’s future, and they want to ensure that students at Glenville State and at other college campuses around West Virginia are prepared to operate them in the future.

“So having our students exposed to the drone system, they will be able to have the additional hands-on experience to the many applications of the drone to the different disciplines,” said Gazal.

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