A group of students gathers data on the size of coulter pine cones. Photo courtesy Forestry Division.
by Samantha Conn
Forestry Assistant Samantha Conn, Forestry Technician Theron Cheatham and Forestry Technician Kathleen Delos Reyes of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Forestry Division contributed to the forestry education of students who participated in the San Bernardino Forestry Challenge, part of the California Forestry Challenge.
The Forestry Challenge is an academic event for high school students in technical forestry and current forestry topics.
Nearly 80 students from nine Southern California high schools participated in the three-day San Bernardino event in November. The students learned basic forestry skills, such as tree and plant identification, forest types, tree height and size calculation, and finding tree market value. The students also collected data for the landowner to use to better manage his forested property.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department Forestry Division, CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service and retired foresters were present to teach and answer any questions that the students had.
This is a great program where students get to experience the outdoors and meet experts in the field of forestry. Youth benefit by better understanding the relationship of the forested environment to their community; by exposure to natural resource management as a potential career option; and by undertaking a rigorous critical thinking exercise that is timely and addresses current forestry topics, such as wildfire, insects and forest health.
Since its inception in 2003, the Forestry Challenge has undergone a complete build-out in California, growing from one event to five. There is a possibility that the program will expand outside of California in 2017.