December 2014 - Wow, if there's one thing I can say, it is that I'm consistent. I wrote the November blog half way through the month, and here it is, December 15, and I am just now writing this month's blog. I'm working to get the year-end activities wrapped up, and I'd like to share some highlights of the 2014 events with you:

Shasta: Congressman Doug LaMalfa planting a tree with the students on the 2012 Ponderosa Fire site. Sequoia: The incredible view from the top of the hill on the last fieldtrip stop at Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest. El Dorado: The rainstorm that swept in just as the presentations were over on the last day. Santa Cruz: Getting to sit front and center for the group photo with the huge group of 93 students. San Bernardino: Waking up to a dusting of snow on Friday morning.

With your support, we had a record total of 300 students at this year's events, up from 206 students in both 2012 and 2013. Looking forward to 2015, I am already setting dates for events and will have them finalized by sometime in February.

So, signing off for 2014, have a wonderful holiday season and a restful break from school and everyday life.

Until Next YEAR,


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Welcome to the California Forestry Challenge website. The 2014 event season wrapped up the week before Thanksgiving, with five successful events all over California. The top ten scores throughout the state (with the event in parenthesis) are:

  • First Place: Amador High School (El Dorado), 223.0 points
  • Second Place: CA Academy of Math and Science (San Bernardino), 215.3 points
  • Third Place: Los Osos High School (San Bernardino), 214.3 points
  • Fourth Place: Elk Grove High School (Santa Cruz), 213.7 points
  • Fifth Place: Mountain Oaks Charter School (Sequoia), 213.3 points
  • Sixth Place: Eleanor Roosevelt Learning Center (Sequoia), 211.0 points
  • Seventh Place: Sacramento New Technology High School (El Dorado), 208.5 points
  • Eighth Place: Charter Oaks High School (San Bernardino), 208.3 points
  • Ninth Place: Ponderosa High School (Santa Cruz), 203.0 points
  • Tenth Place: Nevada Union High School (Shasta), 201.7 points

Congratulations to all 300 students on 73 teams from 37 schools!

Event dates for 2015 will be posted by the end of February.

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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