4Hers participate in forestry camp

August 30, 2019

Matt Sand explains compass and pacing measurements.

On August 5th, 6th and 7th, seventeen youth participated in the first Clare County 4-H Forestry Day Camp at Mid Michigan College for three days of fun and learning about forestry! They learned how to identify the trees and herbaceous flora on the campus trails at MMC. Nia Becker, District Forester for Clare & Gladwin Conservation Districts and Matt Sand, AmeriCorps Member and Conservation Program Developer from the Gladwin DNR Field Office led kids on these trail hikes. Nia and Matt explained forest health and succession, invasive species and talked about careers in forestry. Youth also learned how to use forestry tools to measure trees and timber plots, to read a compass and maps.

On Day Two of the camp, youth enjoyed a fascinating field trip that included an exciting tour of AJD Forestry Products in Grayling, a tour of the Hartwick Pines Visitor Center and Museum and a hike into the Old Growth Forest there to practice what they had learned about trees and forests on Day One. This field trip was funded in part with a Wheels to Woods grant from the American Tree Farm System and our local Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation. It was an invaluable introduction to our youth of several careers in the growing industry of forestry.

Nia Becker demonstrates taking a tree core sample for aging a tree.

On their final day, youth were treated to a spectacular LIVE Birds of Prey presentation from Joe and Barb Rogers of Wildlife Recovery Association, funded in part by the Herbert H. Dow and Grace A. Dow Foundation and the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation. Their presentation was not only educational, but fun and funny.

Dave Sanderson of Sanderson Wood Art led youth in creating their own personal hiking sticks, with leather handles, embedded compasses and wildlife figurines and whistles. The sticks accompanied them on the trail when they learned about geocaching from Steve Stuart of MiGO (Michigan Geocaching Organization). They placed a geocache on the Mid Michigan College campus which you can find by searching geocaching.com.

The 4-H Forestry Camp was a stellar success in educating and preparing local youth for the future, promoting healthy living, and building relationships with youth and adults. To get your youth involved in 4-H and all that it offers to them and their communities, contact Alex Schunk, Clare County 4-H Program Director at 989-539-7805.

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