Local Students Participate in the Forestry Challenge

Palisades High School student Autumn Lee uses an angle gauge to determine the basal area of a plot, one of the many skills learned at the San Bernardino Forestry Challenge near Green Valley Lake.

Thirteen students from Palisades Charter High School participated in the 2022 San Bernardino Forestry Challenge in November.

The event was held at Hume SoCal in Green Valley Lake, and 93 students from 10 schools helped prepare a Forest Management Plan.

“The kids got to interact with working professionals and struggled with figuring out practical solutions for forest management challenges,” said AP PaliHi environmental teacher Steve Engelmann. “So often we fall into simple responses such as ‘save the trees,’ or ‘save/create jobs.’

“The real world is much more nuanced with no true right or wrong answers,” Englemann said. “The students got a peek at that world.”

Working onsite, students defined management objectives, assessed the forest, prioritized threats, and evaluated potential treatments to meet the management objectives.

During the Challenge, teams of students also completed a field test to assess their technical forestry knowledge and data collecting skills.

“It’s a great experience for students to be exposed to the practical nature of what we study in class,” Engelmann said.

PaliHi seniors Sofia Farhangnia and Ella Taghibagi said, “Learning from professionals in the natural resources field and conceptualizing our own Forestry Management plans was a unique opportunity. We were thrilled to have that experience.”

The Forestry Challenge is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health.

The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture and recycling (visit: http://www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov/).

Funding for this project was provided by The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Business and Workforce Development Grants and a grant from the US Forest Service.

PaliHi students who assisted with a development of a Forest Management Plan were (front row, left to right) Steve Engelmann (advisor), Autumn Lee, Amrita Sekhon and Shawna Ashley, (middle row, left to right)Sofia Farhangnia, Ella Taghibagi, Addy Rasgon, Claire Kim and Jessica Rosen and (back row, left to right) Cleo Waxman-Lee, Maren Carrere, James Lewis, Connor Rice and Edward Kim.

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