From 2001 through 2004, Royce Anderson had the misfortune of being incarcerated at the Department of Corrections, Airway Heights Corrections Center. He was assigned to work on a DNR forestry crew in DNR’s Northeast Region.
Since Royce’s incarceration, he has completely turned his life around through education and passion for the forest. He says, “The time on my DNR crew was important. Fighting fires, planting trees, and working on ecological restoration projects created in me a passion to become a more educated steward of the forest.” Following his release in 2004, he went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in forest resources from University of Washington.
Royce earned numerous honors and rewards including Xi Sigma Pi student research grant, the Northwest Scientific Association student research grant, the J.H. Bloedel Scholarship, the George and Marge Stenzel Scholarship, and was winner of the Charles Pack Essay Contest. He was awarded University of Washington President’s Medal, which is the highest honor available to students. He was one of only two students chosen from a class of over 7,600 students in 2007-2008.
Since he now has a strong education and experience in natural resources management and forest ecology, Royce wants to work with a local, state, or federal government agency.
Working jointly with the Department of Corrections and Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, DNR has a trained offender workforce for forestry-related public projects, as well as wildland firefighting around the state. This workforce saves taxpayer dollars while teaching positive work habits to minimum custody level felons. The program helps avoid inmate idleness while providing cost-effective work on state and other public lands. The crews make possible many projects that would not have been affordable, such as planting thousands of acres of trees each year.
DNR has operated a correctional camps program continuously since 1956. DNR camp crews have planted more than 7 square miles of tree seedlings on average each year for the last 5 years. The planting totals were higher before 2009, but state budget shortfalls since then have forced the closure of camps in South Puget Sound and Northwest Regions.
Learn more about work accomplished by DNR-managed correctional camp crews.
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