Brothers Richard and Jim Guldin both went to Penn State, both eventually joined the U.S. Forest Service and both ended up in forest research.You might say their professional path continues their family’s legacy.
Their grandfather, Willie Peter Gerhart, was a businessman and an avid outdoorsman who belonged to deer hunting club in Pennsylvania. He would explore the club’s 2,800-acre property, taking with him his children, Guldins’ mother Miriam and her brother George for educational nature walks. George would later enter forestry school and spend his career as a forester, including nine years leading reforestation and pioneering tree nursery work in Puerto Rico.
“What we have in Puerto Rico in terms of the Luquillo Experimental Forest and Caribbean National Forest has a lot to do with our uncle’s accomplishments,” Richard Guldin said. “The parking lots at El Yunque Visitor’s Center are where our uncle’s tree nursery beds used to be.
“Another memory I have is about 1983 or ‘84, my son was going to a boarding high school near Lumberton, Mississippi. Driving up there, I saw this beautiful stand of longleaf pine along U.S. 11. When I mentioned all these longleaf pines along the highway to my uncle, he got a grin on his face and said, ‘I planted those.’ ”
Richard Guldin is director of Quantitative Sciences for Research and Development in Rosslyn, Va., and Jim Guldin is supervisory ecologist and project leader at the Southern Research Station in Hot Springs, Ark. Rich focuses on economics as it pertains to the creation and sustainability of forests while Jim focuses on silviculture, the art and science of sustainably growing trees to meet needs –human or ecological.
The family’s dedication to our natural resources continues. So, too, does the family’s bonding through nature.“Our mother is 90 years old and lives in Silver Spring, Md., and still enjoys sitting out on a bench and looking at the trees,” Jim Guldin said. “She plants acorns in flower pots and has hemlock seedlings growing in her apartment. And we take those out and plant those just for her. She loves it.”
Read more about the Guldin brothers other Forest Service employees in the feature “Faces of the Forest,” a bi-weekly feature of the Office of Communication to showcase the people, places and professions within the agency.