Christopher Forrest still speaks fondly of a set of colored pencils presented to him then by his parents; At 11, he won his first award for painting and started exhibiting in galleries. Along with his interest in art grew a keen attraction for the outdoors and the wildlife which thrived there. After considering schooling in art, Chris chose to study civil engineering. Upon graduation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Chris began a career as a commissioned officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The Army provided Chris the opportunity to observe wildlife from the swamps of Florida to the lakes of Quebec, in addition to Europe and Viet Nam. In 1973, the Army sent Chris to graduate school at North Carolina State University, at this time Chris started to paint wildlife.