September 2014 - As I write this month's update, I am on my way back from my son's graduation ceremony from Army Basic Combat Training, also known as "Boot Camp", at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. (Click here for a photo.) He successfully completed one of the most rigorous challenges a person can undertake. I believe one of the reasons he was successful is because of his attitude. He said he woke up everyday thinking about the cool stuff he was going to get to do, rather than focusing on the 100 degree humid heat, the drudgery of daily physical training, and the constant badgering of the drill sergeants.

I, too, am entering the "Boot Camp" phase of planning for the upcoming Forestry Challenge events. I must endure a lack of sleep and the stress of juggling registration, test writing, and logistics of five events, and complete every task with the high quality I demand from myself. I will do my best to remember my son's positive attitude, and focus on what inspires me - the motivated students, dedicated teachers, and loyal volunteers - that keep me striving to make each event an excellent experience for all.

So on that note, please know that I am available to you anytime my phone is on, and it is on except when I'm asleep which, these days, isn't much! I am excited to think about the good things that are soon to come as we get together to learn about and engage in the forest. I can't wait to see all of you soon!

Until next month,


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Welcome to the California Forestry Challenge website. Information on the 2014 events is now posted on the "Events" pages. New this year is the San Bernardino Forestry Challenge, now making the trip to a Forestry Challenge event convenient from anywhere in the state.




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What is the Forestry Challenge?

The California Forestry Challenge is a competitive event for high school students in technical forestry and current forestry issues. Using the forest as the classroom, the California Forestry Challenge is project-based learning at its best.

Highlights include:

  • Field Training: Forestry professionals spend time with the students familiarizing them with common tree species, forestry tools, and the use of identification keys. This training serves as a review of information and equipment already sent to teachers during the summer.
  • Field Test: Working as a 2 to 5 person team, students complete a comprehensive field test, which includes identifying and measuring trees, analyzing stand data, and making forest management decisions. The scores from the testing stations are combined, and become 60% of the team's final score.
  • Current Topic Fieldtrip: Students are presented with a real life topic or situation. They then visit the field to ask questions and collect data. Students also do a service project such as tree planting or invasive weed removal, to give them a "hands-on" forest experience. At the 2012 events, teams created a "recipe" for Giant Sequoia regeneration, helped clarify a management plan for a family forest, and weighed in on a not-yet-approved Timber Harvest Plan.
  • Presentation: Guided by two consultation sessions with a Registered Professional Forester, students use all available information to put together a 15-minute presentation. A panel of three judges scores the presentation, which is worth 40% of the final event score. Top teams have presented to the CA Board of Forestry, the CA Licensed Foresters Association, and the Forest Landowners of CA.

If you would like to donate to help offset student and program expenses, use the PayPal button below.

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