School Forest news
Highlights About Our School Forests
Entering beaver's territory
Students at Lakewood School Forest in Duluth had an exciting winter trip in the forest. They went out to the pond to learn about ice conditions and safety. Suddenly, a noise came from under the ice below them. Thump! Thump! Thump! The students gasped and froze in place. Then they realized what it was, a beaver! The presence of beavers is nothing new to the students as they often study their tracks, mud slides, and observe the dams and chewed trees while visiting the forest. But this was quite the experience having the beaver so close and only separated by a thin layer of ice. The thumping was a way to send out an alarm to alert its mate to the danger of students nearby and to try and scare off the kids. They knew it was best to retreat and leave the beavers be.
Students from the Blackduck School Forest took part in the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour in a variety of ways. In the spring, they created Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree. In May, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) students accompanied USDA Forest Service staff to learn about national Christmas tree qualities and how to search for the perfect tree. Then in October, during the tree cutting ceremony in the Chippewa National Forest, the FFA students ushered guests and helped manage the day's events. A few days later the tree visited the Blackduck School where all students were able to sign the trailer and see the tree. Mark Friesen, School Forest coordinator spoke at the event and highlighted the involvement of the FFA students.
"We've got the whole forest in our hands"
Garlough School Forest hosted the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree on its tour to the U.S. Capitol. All 440 students visited the tree and signed their names on the trailer. Students made ornaments earlier in the year and one boy even saw his on the tree during his visit! Students and parents listened to short talks by U.S. representatives Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, West St. Paul mayor John Zanmiller, and state forester Forrest Boe. Three students presented their own pieces created for the event. Then the whole school sang a song written especially for the tree "We've got the whole forest in our hands."
High School Students at Mankato East learned the importance of conservation and restoration projects by learning hands-on in their School Forest. Led by the School Forest coordinator and science teacher, Julia Battern 120 students took part throughout the day, each spending about 2 hours removing buckthorn, a terrestrial invasive species. Randy Schindle, a DNR Private Lands Specialist taught students how to properly remove and treat buckthorn and gave a presentation on famous conservationists. The district's grounds managers supplied equipment and helped remove large branches and trunks from the forest. The project was completed after planting native woodland plants to help reestablish the forest and create a wildlife friendly habitat.