Forestry Day makes learning fun for local kids 0
areth Davies, management forester from Ministry of Natural Resources uses a model to demonstrate how to use a prisim to determine basal area. Davies was one of the presenters at the Bancroft Area Forest Industry Association Forestry Day event at Joy Bible Camp in Bancroft on June 7. BARBARA SHAW BANCROFT THIS WEEK
Even though we live in an area rich with the history of forestry, there are still myths and misconceptions that exist in the minds of local youth. The Bancroft Area Forest Industry Association (BAFIA) in partnership with a long list of volunteers decided to give local kids an opportunity to learn about forestry in a fun, hands-on way. The result is the first ever Forestry Day that ran on June 7 at Joy Bible Camp in Bancroft.
Jenn Card is the stewardship coordinator from the Bancroft Area Stewardship Council. She says the day was all about teaching kids about sustainable forest management.
"BAFIA initiated the training day," Card said. "We like the idea of raising awareness around forestry management. Our mandate is sustaining resources together and this event is a perfect fit."
"We want to educate future stewards," Card explained.
As well as industry professionals the NERDS class from the NHHS were out in full force helping to lead activities and work with the younger students.
Grade 7 and 8 students from York River and Whitney schools rotated through four forestry themed stations. There was navigation and tree marking, tree planting, harvesting and also a full display of wood products.
Each station included hands-on learning and the students were enthusiastically participating.
Event organizer Ernie Demuth was also pretty enthusiastic, seeing the event come together. He was beaming as the kids learned and had fun taking on tasks and challenges.
Demuth, who runs Demuth Forestry Services, says he wanted to help the kids make that association between wood products and the fact that all these things come from a forest.
"We want to dispel myths," Demuth said. "This is sustainable- don't just label forestry as bad, that's why we're giving our time. There are sustainable ways of harvesting and that's what we do.
Demuth says the NERDS have been great and that they all took on leadership roles during the event.
"We want people to know that forestry is not dead," Demuth adds. "You have to advocate when you go to the store and ask if the products are from Ontario."
Demuth's energy is contagious and the Grade 7 students at the event were pretty excited about what they were learning.
"I think this is such a good thing- forestry," said Kristen Sutherland. "Now I know they're helping the environment and this is really important."
Shannon Norris (like Chuck Norris, say her friends) says she found out that there is even wood in toothpaste.
"We eat a block of wood each day," adds Alyssa Jackson. "It's in canned food."
Kristen Sutherland clarifies her friend's comment, "It preserves your food so it's a really good thing."
Besides the wood in food factoids, the Grade 7 girls all say they loved the hands-on experience with the potputki, which Jackson explains is a levered machine that helps put trees in the ground.
"It's so you don't have to bend over," she explains.
Maggie Hicks says her favourite thing all day was the feller buncher. She describes it as "a huge machine that lets you cut down way more trees than with just a regular chainsaw."
The four students were happy to accept the challenge of saying "feller buncher" four times, fast. And with great enthusiasm for a test of their abilities they pretty much met the challenge after practicing for a while.
The hard work put into the planning of the first ever Bancroft Forestry Day seemed worth it as Joy Bible Camp was over run with new forestry enthusiasts.
Card says her group is eager to expand the event and hopes to offer it to more kids in the future.