We recently started a forest and logging legacy project in our Pend Oreille County 4-H Program in response to concerns that, as a society, we are losing our connection to the historical contributions of forestry and logging to our communities, their economic development, and their prosperity.
The Forest and Logging Legacy Project helps young participants connect to and learn from the past, experience today’s high tech forestry and logging systems, and plan for how forestry and logging will shape our future. Our approach is to take learning into the field to provide opportunities to participate and learn through experience about historic and modern forestry and logging skills. And the forum for all of this is one of the premier national youth programs, the 4-H, or as we like to say: 4-H “Rocks” and Logrolls!
In addition to using a “misery whip” saw and practicing log rolling techniques, we teach kids taking part in the program about:
- Seeing the forest from the trees
- Connecting boards to trees
- Practicing forest saw safety
- Experiencing a day in the life of a logger
- Experiencing a day in the life of a forester
- Cruising timber
- Fighting forest fires
- Detecting forest insects & diseases
- Understanding forest management techniques & plans
- Collecting and studying leaves
- Realizing the importance of water to forestry and the environment
- Panning for gold!
We also took participants on a timber harvesting tour and made sure that there was plenty of time for instructive but fun forest and water games.
In addition to the fun, youth attending these events have the can learn both conceptually and physically what it took to be successful in the forest and on the river drives of earlier times. We launch from the “roots” of early forestry and logging to today’s modern and high tech forestry and resource utilization systems. We will look to the future, and dream what forestry and logging will bring to our local communities and economies.
You can learn more about 4-H Forestry and the 4-H Forest and Logging Legacy Project by contacting your local 4-H Office or Mike Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Mike Jensen, WSU Extension Associate Professor and 4-H Youth Development Faculty, WSU Pend Oreille County Extension