Learning about fire management and wildlife were some of the best things Umpqua Valley Christian School fifth graders Jonathan Salchenberg and Kaiden Diaz experienced during the 58th Douglas County School Forestry Tour on Wednesday at the Glide Educational Forest.
Jonathan said he has spent some time in the forest hunting and fishing and already knew some of the things covered in the tour before it started.
On Wednesday morning, fourth, fifth and sixth graders from Umpqua Valley Christian, Fullerton IV and Sutherlin West Intermediate schools learned about seven different things: fisheries, tree identification, archaeology, wildlife, forest products, forest management, and fire management.
“I got to learn quite a bit of new things,” Umpqua Valley Christian School fifth grader Elizabeth Kwok said, adding that learning how to extinguish fires was her favorite.
It was a favorite of her classmate Jake Redmond as well. “It was fun to see how the forest service put out the fire,” he said.
Douglas Fire Protection Agency’s Kyle Reed and Olivia Dominguez lit a fire on a model landscape replication to show students how elements such as wind impact wildfires, before showing how fires are extinguished.
In the forest products presentation students learned all about the different daily items that come from trees. Presenters from Seneca Jones talked about forest management, such as clear-cutting and tree planting.
The fisheries station taught students about the water cycle and different species that live in Oregon, at the next station students learned how to identify different trees by their leaves.
“Detectives of the past” Sara Boyko and Kelsey Knox of the Bureau of Land Management showed various objects that had been found by archaeologists in the area.
After lunch, the students had a chance to play games such as pulp toss, choker setting, and crane race.
Students also had a chance to operate a cross-cut saw, which was a bit more difficult than most had imagined.
“It was pretty hard,” Fullerton IV fifth grader Khloee Ellis said. Khloee and her classmate Olivia Mecham got to work together on the cross-cut saw.
The Douglas County School Forestry Tour was started in 1961 and is the oldest natural resources education program in the county.
It is a cooperative effort by the Douglas County Lands Department and the Douglas County OSU Extension Service, with numerous community partners including federal, state and local resource management agencies, private consulting firms, private timber companies, non-profit organizations and the Cow Creek tribe.
The program will continue until Friday, and between 800 and 1,000 students participate in the program each year.