Caileigh Shoot Finds Her Career Happy Place on Our Forest Carbon Team

Caileigh spends a muddy day in Coos Bay while collecting field data for the Weyerhaeuser research team in 2019.

Forest Carbon is one of our newest teams at Weyerhaeuser. Housed within our Corporate Development organization and part of our Natural Climate Solutions business, the team is responsible for developing forest carbon projects on our existing Timberlands. Our first forest carbon project, Kibby Skinner in Maine, was approved by ACR last fall. Two additional forest carbon projects are under development in the U.S. South, with even more in the pipeline. It’s a new frontier not just for Weyerhaeuser but for forestry as a whole.

Caileigh Shoot, who joined Weyerhaeuser as a remote sensing research specialist five years ago, first learned about forest carbon while earning her master’s degree in remote sensing from the University of Washington.

“I’ve been interested in the voluntary carbon market since I learned about it during my master’s thesis, which was part of a NASA Carbon Monitoring System grant,” she says. “Though my first few jobs at Weyerhaeuser didn’t directly relate to carbon, I enjoyed reading about it in my free time.”

Two years after joining the company, she shifted to the Western Timberlands Inventory & Planning team as a GIS analyst to strengthen her GIS skills. Then she watched a Sustainability Live! episode in mid-2021 about our Natural Climate Solutions business. In the episode, Alicia Robbins, vice president of Portfolio Analytics & Business Development, explained our fledgling Forest Carbon team.

“I was really excited to hear what was in the works,” Caileigh says. “I knew I wanted to be involved with carbon at some point in my career. So I messaged Alicia and told her about my interest. I’m not sure I would have done that if my colleagues on the research team hadn’t encouraged me to do so. It can be a bit scary to message someone out of the blue, but honestly, Weyerhaeuser people have always been super friendly.”

The conversation went so well, Caileigh applied for a newly created carbon manager role. But she didn’t get it.

Image of Caleigh in the field with the Forest Carbon team and biometricians on the Advanced Forestry Systems team.

Caileigh in the field with the Weyerhaeuser Forest Carbon team and biometricians on the Advanced Forestry Systems team. Left to Right: Bill Headlee, forest carbon biometrician; Ji She, manager, Portfolio Analytics; Ryan Spicer, forest carbon manager; Jason Gibson, director of Forest Carbon; David Newton, manager, Forest Carbon compliance; and Caileigh.


Undeterred, Caileigh knew she still wanted the Forest Carbon team to be her next step at Weyerhaeuser, so when a carbon analyst role opened, she applied — and landed it.

“To be honest, I wasn’t ready to be a manager in the carbon space at that time, even though on paper it was the nice, logical next step for my career progression,” she says. “Everything just fell into place with the carbon analyst role. I’m able to dig my hands into so many new things, and I’m learning a lot, which will make me a much better manager eventually.”

Caileigh is one of just four people on our Forest Carbon team, but she says there’s a lot of crossover and collaboration with other teams, especially with the biometricians in Timberlands’ Advanced Forestry Systems and Inventory & Planning teams across our Timberlands regions. As a forest carbon analyst, Caileigh serves as a technical resource, doing anything needed to help document a carbon project or respond to audit questions so the project can get approval from ACR for the issuance of high-integrity forest carbon credits that we then take to market. She’s involved in every step of forest carbon projects: from identifying land for new potential projects to making maps, providing guidance on remote sensing, and documenting the audit process.

“Somone recently commented I really made the role my own, which I loved to hear,” she says. “This is a totally new area of the company, so there’s no manual on how to be a forest carbon analyst. I’m fortunate to have many of the skills this position needed, though of course there’s been a lot to learn. But it’s fun, almost like being back in college.”

Image of Caleigh flying drones at the Mima Nursery.

Caileigh flying drones at the Mima Nursery while working as a remote sensing research specialist.


Caileigh has had to do a lot of reading to learn about quantifying carbon in forests, a definite learn-as-you-go scenario.

“It’s kind of a ‘building the bike while we’re riding it’ type of thing,” she says.

She admits that before she started with the group, she thought the methodologies were more uniform and firmly entrenched than they actually are, noting that applying carbon methodologies to working forests and to a company with a long history of management can be particularly challenging. But now that she’s been in the role for 18 months, things are settling in. Plus, she says that every time a project is audited, she learns about things to improve or streamline.

“It's like being given the first quarter of a textbook but being tested on the entire volume,” she says. “Every project we develop must undergo a third-party audit before we can submit it to ACR for approval and credit issuance. As we’ve worked with different auditing firms, we’ve also found they may have different requirements in terms of the level of detail they want to see in the project documentation. For us as a developer, there's no specific guidance out there on how to implement the methodologies. We’ve had to adapt and persist through a lot of ambiguity. It's tricky, and it's been hard.”

But she’s comfortable with “tricky and hard.”

Image of Caleigh and her fiance Chris on a recent trip to Switzerland.

Caileigh and her fiancé Chris Chase (also a Weyerhaeuser employee) on a recent trip to Switzerland.


Caileigh grew up in California’s Bay Area, so she’s familiar with startups. She even worked for a small startup company in between her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. When she first talked with the Forest Carbon team, she said they described it as a startup within Weyerhaeuser, which helped her approach her role with that type of scrappy mentality.

“It can be scary,” she says. “It's definitely frustrating some days, but on other days, it's like, ‘Wow, we're doing something really cool here.’”

Caileigh says she enjoys being creative and working on the forefront of something exciting. And it helps that her job deals with something she’s so passionate about.

“Weyerhaeuser was my first job out of college, and now I know it can take some time to figure out exactly what you want to do with your life,” Caileigh says. “I loved working in remote sensing, but I also love applying my remote sensing and technical skills in a carbon context. I'm doing something very cool and exciting, something that not just impacts Weyerhaeuser's forests but also creates a positive impact on our entire planet. I feel like I've found my happy place.”

Image of Caileigh backpacking in the Eagle Gap Wilderness.

Caileigh backpacking in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.


  • Be open to new opportunities. Careers are winding paths, and sometimes it takes going through them to figure out where you ultimately want to be.
  • Be flexible. It’s okay to hone your skills and move on to the next thing. Don’t assume you need wait for a “perfect” role, because your perfect role will change as your life changes and as you learn more about what’s out there.
  • Make connections and learn new things. You never know where they will take you.