Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Charles Barden is a long way from home. But his love of trees and forestry is backed by a lot of history, stemming from his days of working on his grandparents’ apple orchard in North Scituate, Rhode Island and cutting firewood to heat his childhood home. Barden began his post-secondary education in Natural Resources, where he learned about forestry and wildlife, in addition to plant, animal and soil sciences. Then he decided pursue Forestry in his graduate studies.
Prior to coming to Kansas State University, Barden’s previous positions include Area Extension Specialist with Oklahoma State University from 1989-1994 and also Regional Extension Forester with the US Forest Service/Penn State University from 1994-1998. Then in 1998, Dr. Barden began his tenure in Manhattan, KS, serving the public of Kansas, focusing on two things he loves teaching people about: trees and water quality improvement. His extension duties entail daily calls from local extension agents and individual producers who deal in either native woodlands or black walnut plantations. These producers are usually concentrated in the eastern 1/3 of Kansas, but Dr. Barden also assists western Kansas’s residents working on windbreaks and crop field buffers. Barden also provides adult education, guest lectures in a series of K-State classes and conducts applied research in the forestry area.
Dr. Barden stresses that forestry management is quite different than any other field of agriculture since, trees must be 40-80 years old prior to harvest. Additionally, Barden states, “Most people don’t think of the trees as a cash crop, but more of something they can plant now and pass onto their children and grandchildren. The value of a tree for wildlife, streambank stabilization, shade or simply aesthetics is usually much higher than the more-easily determined timber value.”
Outside of his job with K-State, Dr. Barden enjoys vegetable gardening, hunting and fishing.