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Hainds retires from teaching after 26 years, sets eyes on sequel to “Border Walk”

Students, faculty and staff at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College are saying their goodbyes to longtime instructor Mark Hainds.

Hainds has served as a Forest Technology instructor for 26 years in that field. He spent 20 years with the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and was the first employee of the Longleaf Association, serving as a research coordinator on the 5,300-acre Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center. He has served the past six years as a forestry instructor at LBW.

“I have really enjoyed my career in forestry,” Hainds said. “Working with both Auburn and LBW have been fantastic experiences. With Auburn, I primarily taught professionals and it wasn’t until I came to LBW that I began teaching semester courses. It was certainly different, but I enjoyed it very much. I’ve taught many great students over the years.”

LBW offers the only two-year Forest Technology program in Alabama and Hainds said there is a demand for students who complete the program.

“Mr. Hainds has played an essential role in our Forestry Program since he began teaching at the college in 2015,” said LBW Public Information Officer Maggie Jones. “His many years of experience in the field has been beneficial to the forestry students he educates. We will miss having Mr. Hainds as an instructor at the college, but we know he will continue to do great things and he will remain a valued part of the Saints Family.”

Along with his research and work with students, Hainds has authored several books, most recently “Border Walk,” which highlights his journey hiking the Mexico-Texas border.

In 2011, he authored “Year of the Pig,” a book about his research of the feral hog population. Hainds spent a year hunting the hogs across 11 states.

With retirement being official on Feb. 1, Hainds said he plans to spend more time on other passions, including his business, “SweetBill,” which specializes in the sale of custom-cut hardwoods, fruits, and varieties of mushrooms. He sells his products at Pensacola’s Palafox Market each Saturday and SweetBill can be found on Facebook. 

Also, on his to-do list is completing the sequel to “Border Walk,” which will highlight his trek along the second half of his walk, through New Mexico, Arizona and California.