CHASSELL - The students in Mary Markham's biology class and green science class at Chassell High School got a lesson in forestry Thursday.
Students, equipped with planting shovels and buckets of trees, dotted a vast span of the school's clear-cut forest in Chassell.
"I learned how to dig trees today," Garrett Warren said as he dug holes for new red pine trees with the shovel along the forest. "Each student has to (plant) 100."
Stacey Ashcraft/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Chassell High School students Britni Peterson, Bethany Butkovich and Garrett Warren dig holes and plant trees Thursday afternoon in the school’s forest in Chassell. The students spent the day learning about forest management.
With the help of a Forest Stewardship grant, the students were taking part in the project to learn about forestry and trees in the forest which have been selectively cleared for scientific purposes, Markham said.
Where huge red pines once made a home in the forest now is blanketed with ferns and in various locations, sticks mark where students in the past have planted trees.
"I take the students out here and show them forest management," she said. "Two years ago, this was deep with red pine, and they were mature and the density was getting a little too high so our suggestion was to clear cut it."
Normally, on trips to the forest, students use the wooded area of the forest to learn tree identification also, she said. The most important goal of the day was to plant trees and learn to work as a group and measure.
Markham spent the day teaching the students how to use the special planting shovels, measuring how deep the holes were to be and calculating the appropriate spacing between trees.
"It has to be down far enough so the roots have room," she said as she demonstrated digging a hole.
The 20 students were then given 2,000 plants, broken into groups and were unleashed into the forest to plant.
"We had planted about 3,000 last year and they were in rows and it was hard and they each had their individual rows 8 feet apart and every 10 feet, we planted a tree," she said.
This year, however, Markham didn't make the students stick to a perfectly straight row, as actually learning how to plant was more important.
"They worked really well this morning," Markham said.
Stacey Ashcraft can be reached at sashcraft@ mininggazette.com.