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High School Students Discover the Forest

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Camp teaching assistant Josh Crofton MacDonald, studying for his master’s degree in civil engineering, stayed with the students during the camp. MacDonald is working on a water quality study for his native tribe, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. (Photo courtesy University of Maine/Adam Kuykendall)

Camp teaching assistant Josh Crofton MacDonald, studying for his masterís
degree in civil engineering, stayed with the students during the camp.
MacDonald is working on a water quality study for his native tribe, the
Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians.
(Photo courtesy University of Maine/Adam Kuykendall)

Posted by Laura Kenefic and Jane Hodgins, Northern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service


When you invite high school students into the woods, you set the stage for wonder, excitement and endless questions.


Organizers for “Discover the Forest,” a new venture sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Maine, also hope that, in addition to learning about the forest, participants will discover career opportunities and set the stage for a more diverse and inclusive workforce in the future.


In July, 19 students from Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island participated in the week-long “Discover the Forest” camp, the first forestry camp for high school students at the University of Maine. The camp was organized and hosted by the university’s School of Forest Resources with funding provided by the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. Participants came from diverse backgrounds and places, including young women and minorities traditionally underrepresented in forestry, as well as those from rural and urban communities.

Students sample fish in the Ducktrap River near Lincolnville, Maine, under the supervision of Bobby VanRiper (center), fisheries biologist from the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department. (Photo courtesy University of Maine/Bill Livingston)

Students sample fish in the Ducktrap River near Lincolnville, Maine, under the
supervision of Bobby VanRiper (center), fisheries biologist from the Maine
Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.
(Photo courtesy University of Maine/Bill Livingston)


Thunderstorms knocked out power at the Tanglewood 4-H camp in Lincolnville, Maine, the day before camp was to begin, prompting University of Maine faculty and staff to quickly relocate the camp to the university campus. The new location gave students on-site access to the University Forest, Perch Pond and the Orono Bog Boardwalk. Northern Research Station scientists, faculty and a number of graduate students joined campers during the day for lessons and activities related to forest inventory, interpretative signs, recreation management, fish sampling, forest operations and forest management planning.


"I think the most constructive things I learned at camp were how to identify trees, how to estimate a distance by counting my paces and the importance of the forest to streams and rivers,” said Discover the Forest camper Christopher Wilson of Hartland, Maine. “Everything we learned was interesting."
The students enjoyed evening campfires, swimming, nature walks and opportunities to talk to natural resources experts.

 

Students learned about forest inventory, recreation management, fish sampling, forest operations and forest management planning during their week-long stay at Discover the Forest camp. (Photo courtesy of University of Maine/Bill Livingston)

Students learned about forest inventory, recreation management, fish sampling,
forest operations and forest management planning during their week-long stay
at Discover the Forest camp.
Photo courtesy of University of Maine/Bill Livingston)

The students peppered their hosts with many thoughtful  questions. They wanted to know what it means to be a wildlife manager, what a forester does on an average day, and how camp instructors became interested in their field of study.

 

US Forest Service
Last modified September 17, 2013
http://www.fs.fed.us

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