June 2015 - It's been a whirlwind, as schools end their academic year and close down for the summer. I have had the privilege of visiting several high schools to hand out awards, and want to make mention of them here. I presented Marysville HS with their El Dorado pacing contest trophy, Katy Etchison of Elk Grove HS with a 4-year award, the CA Academy of Mathematics and Science with the San Bernardino perpetual and pacing contest trophies, and Oscar Cruz of Sacramento New Tech HS with a 4- year award. Forestry Challenge alum Jessica Parlin represented the Challenge as she presented Carley Hangebrauck of Ponderosa HS with a 4-year award. Way to go!

I am also pleased that the 2014 Annual Report is completed and mailed, a copy of which is linked at the bottom of this page.

Now that 2014 is officially in the books, I can turn my attention to the year ahead. There are now about 400 students from 46 schools officially pre-registered for events, and several others I expect to be joining the list soon. I have made visits to dozens of new schools, and am seeing the fruits of that labor, as 7 new schools are already poised to join us.

So students and teachers, I hope you enjoy your summer, and have a chance to get out and immerse yourselves in the forest, as I plan to do in the months ahead, including a 120 mile backpack trip in July on the John Muir Trail. I'll also mix a little "work" in with the play, visiting event sites to set up the focus topics and field tests. But truly, the line between work and play is pretty blurry. I consider myself fortunate to be associated with all of you and this program.

Until Next Month,


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Welcome to the California Forestry Challenge website. Information on the 2015 events is posted on the "events" pages. Schools that pre-register for 2015 events before May 31st will get a 50 percent discount on registration fees.




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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