SUTHERLIN — On behalf of the Oregon Natural Resources Education Fund, the Society of American Foresters presented an award certificate at a May 15 Sutherlin School Board meeting to Sutherlin High School and instructor Wes Crawford to show support for the school’s commitment to providing educational opportunities in forestry.
The amount ONREF awarded to the Sutherlin Agricultural Science and Technology Program for the 2017-18 school year was $1,500. Sutherlin’s program was established in 1978 and today has 125 students enrolled. That’s 31 percent of the entire student body at Sutherlin High School.
The funds will go toward providing students with clinometers, spencer tapes, compasses and GPS units. These forestry tools will benefit up to 50 students yearly. Sutherlin’s ASTP program contains four courses: introduction to agricultural science; agricultural biology; horticulture and natural resources; and horticulture and forestry.
To assist with its program, SHS has a greenhouse facility and a land lab for field and lab work. Both public and private local forest property is accessible to the program for educational purposes. In spring 2016, scientific inquiry with drones by Sutherlin students was facilitated by Lone Rock Timber.
Wes Crawford has been teaching at the high school as the agricultural science and technology instructor and FFA advisor for the past 10 years. In that time the program has expanded and grown, including the natural resource and forestry components.
This growth has culminated in several student accomplishments, including competing in the FFA National Forestry Career Development Event in 2014 and placing 14th in the nation. The students also competed on May 15 in the FFA State Forestry CDE.
Crawford submitted an application for the grant, but was not awarded the full amount he requested. Across the state, 11 applications were received. ONREF awarded 34 percent of the total grant request value of all the applications. The number and amounts of grant applications show a trend of increasing interest and involvement with forestry and natural resources education.