(By Brandon Hansen/Chewelah Independent)
Chewelah’s Maddy Triplett takes second place overall at event…
The roaring waters of Douglas Falls outside of Colville served as the backdrop for the 39th Annual Stevens County Forestry Contest last Friday. A steady supply of rain added to the difficulty of the competition as students from Washington schools gathered to compete in events such as compass work, slope determination, tree identification, disorder identification, timber stand improvement, tool identification, chainsaw safety and troubleshooting, timber cruising, log scaling and forestry issues.
Hosted by the Stevens County Conservation District (SCCD), the event is also the product of coordination with various volunteers from forestry companies and agencies. The Washington DNR, Boise, Hancock Timber Resource Group, Arden Tree Farms, Berrigan Forestry, Hartill’s Mountain Saw and Tractor and the Colville National Forest help set up stations at the event and help provide other hands-on elements.
These instructors volunteer their time because of their commitment to forestry education,” Dana Bowers of the SCCD said. “We also need volunteer community members to score and escort students around the course. A volunteer from the Hoo Hoo Club (a professional forester’s club) arranges all the lunch stuff and brings it out to the contest. Those volunteers really do the heavy lifting.”
The Stevens County Conservation District puts the student contest packets together, prepares copies of the keys for the scorers and makes sure students and volunteers have everything they need.
Donations were given by the Washington Farm Forestry Association, the Panorama Chapter of Society of American Foresters, New Tech Inc. and Clark’s All Sport to help provide prizes and ribbons for the competitors. The SCCD buys the ribbons and prizes. The donators provided discounts on prizes bought, which range from two-person tents to Yeti insulated mugs.
“These sponsors help give incentives to learning about good forestry,” Bowers said.
This was the first year that junior high students participated in the event. They came out to the same site the next day and had forestry professionals lead them through tree identification, disorder identification, compass work, map interpretation and tool identification.
The teachers and FFA advisors are hoping that getting students interested while they are in jr. high will help give them the experience they need to master these skills.
Chewelah had several placers and winners at the event. Madison Triplett placed first in Compass and Pacing, Legal Description and Map Reading and Tool ID. Austin Armstrong placed second in Compass and Pacing, while Christina Brown placed second in Tree Disorders
Triplett also placed third in Timber Stand Improvement.
Chewelah placed third in Timber Cruising at the the competition which included Wenatchee-area schools and Colville. They also placed fifth as a team.