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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #977: Wolter, Karl E. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (August 15, 2008)

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00:32:37 - 00:36:19 Forest Products Laboratory

Forest Products Laboratory, typical day, fieldwork, tissue culture, experiments, University of Wisconsin, relationship, history

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00:32:37

AP

Could you maybe describe what a typical day at FPL was like? Was there such a thing?

KW

There was such a thing, but it would be different. You see in the beginning I was just part of a project and as the years went by I had my own project and then I was in charge of a larger project. So that would---first of all we didn't have to punch in, no time cards or anything like that. [In my particular area] I [also] had lots of outdoor experiments, some of them were up in the Wisconsin Dells. So there would be many days that I would spend being outdoors and doing experimentations---this was in addition to tissue culture work---and that was primarily related to Diana Smith's project and the affects of environment on wood quality production. The day started early, eight o'clock, and it was an eight to four job, except if you were involved with university things and then perhaps you would be doing things, lecturing and stuff like that. But there was a lot of interaction between the University and the Laboratory.

AP

Was that encouraged by FPL?

KW

Excuse me?

AP

Was that kind of interaction encouraged by FPL?

KW

Yes, the whole charter of the Forest Products Laboratory---you've probably have known this---but the Laboratory used to be on campus down near the engineering building back in the '20s because the Laboratory was only built in 1930 where its present location is. But you are covering what the last--?

AP

The last one hundred years.

KW

Hundred years? So that would be the year it was formed. They had a little laboratory somewhere on campus and they eventually built the much larger building up on the Drive in 1930 if I'm not mistaken. And so there was always a very, very close interaction between the University---and that's how these things were setup by the Department of Agriculture. There are lots of facilities at campuses, if you go to the University of Washington or places like that, there are forestry laboratories at the universities. There are some at the University of Oregon and some at the University of Louisiana. So these things have all been set up to interact with universities. I think it was an excellent idea. [Smaller research facilities such as the "Genetics Lab" in Rhunelander, WI lack the interactions you get on a big campus. However, these labs are necessary due to location, i.e. new growth areas.]

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