Season 5 | Professionals of Color in Forestry and Natural Resources | Episode 17

#84 | My activism is being accessible and creating safe spaces to have difficult conversations

October 24, 2018 | Jamahl Butler

Currently District Ranger of the Angeles Gateway Ranger District, Nicholas Jamahl Butler has experienced nearly the entire range of natural resource management in his career. In addition to being a land manager, people manager, silviculturalist, communicator and educator, Jamahl’s focus has long been on ecological restoration and conservation. On today’s show, Jamahl dives into the importance of having tough conversations with those who don’t always see eye-to-eye with you, being proud of your unique talent, and so much more! For example, Jamahl says, “Don’t be afraid to use your voice to help others see a different perspective.” Listen to the entire interview and subscribe to the podcast today!

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:35] A quick intro to Jamahl’s background.

[3:50] How did Jamahl get into forestry and natural resources?

[11:40] The foresters that Jamahl knew at the time were very excited to take a high school student under their wings.

[18:50] Jamahl entered into a forestry program early in his education, which helped him get on-the-ground experience much earlier than most as well as earn a bit of income.

[28:30] Jamahl was offered a full-time position before his internship was over!

[30:35] What kind of projects did Jamahl work on when he got his first job?

[38:00] Through Jamahl’s extensive and diverse experience, he’s able to have a deeper understanding of the field and bring a unique perspective to the table.

[41:00] Everyone in your life teaches you what to think, but it’s not always accurate.

[47:15] Jamahl explains the process of how he got his college degrees.

[51:40] What was it like to work as a state forester?

[58:40] What was it like living in Utah as a person of color?

[1:01:20] Jamahl shares a story of a white co-worker who once explained to him, ‘what it was like to be black.’

[1:10:00] Jamahl explains his non-profit experience when he first arrived in Houston, Texas.

[1:18:30] Jamahl met a conservation executive who was passionate and knowledgeable about forestry, but had no idea that you could go to school for it and specialize in different types of forestry!

[1:23:20] Jamahl shares his thoughts on race relations, cultural differences, and diversity.

[1:32:45] How often do you have to worry about someone sexually assaulting you?

[1:38:00] What does Jamahl do as District Ranger?

[1:40:45] How does leadership differ now that Jamahl is in this higher-level position?

[1:44:25] Most people think of themselves as hardworking and well-meaning, but they might not have the same definition of those things as you do.

[1:47:30] What kinds of challenges has Jamahl experienced in forestry as a person of color?

[1:50:30] What career advice does Jamahl have for young people?

[2:03:45] We all have unique qualities, and it’s important to share your art with others.

Mentioned in This Episode:
Jamahl on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-j-butler-16b2a221/
Pathways Program: https://www.fs.fed.us/working-with-us/opportunities-for-young-people
Book: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman


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