Since the last report the High Sierra Chapter has been busy with meetings and Scholarship fundraisers.
January 29-30, 2016: NORCAL / SOCAL Winter Meeting at Santa Rosa, CA. There was no chapter meeting in January, several members attended the Winter Meeting.
At the Awards Luncheon this year’s “Outstanding Chapter of the Year for 2015” returned to the local High Sierra Chapter SAF. “We congratulate the High Sierra Chapter for their continued outstanding work. The chapter has fundraisers for a scholarship fund for Reedley College forestry students along with educational dinner meetings and field trips for its members and friends. They work with forest and conservation educational events with youth, teachers and the public across the state, including helping to put on the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Demonstrations with SCE at Shaver Lake in October,” said Julie Lydick NorCal SAF Awards Chair. The large redwood plaque will be enjoyed by High Sierra Chapter members during the year.
High Sierra member, Donald Dukleth received the 2015 District 3 Field Forester of the Year Award at the 2015 national convention.
February 24, 2016 Chapter Meeting. The High Sierra Chapter held a dinner meeting at Bobby Salazar’s Mexican Restaurant and Cantina in NW Fresno on Wednesday, February 24.
The after dinner speaker was Kirby Molen, a forester with the Sierra Forest Products sawmill at Terra Bella, CA. Due to the extensive drought related tree mortality and tree mortality from several wildfires in the region, Molen addressed challenges facing the forest products industry.
We are in a “perfect storm,” with years of drought and below average precipitation that has caused catastrophic quantities of dead trees.
The volume is estimated to be several hundred million board feet or more of dead ponderosa and sugar pine trees. The forest industry infrastructure is limited with few sawmills, biomass energy plants, and qualified licensed timber operators. The dead trees are of limited value for lumber, chips, hog fuel or firewood.
The US Forest Service and CAL FIRE are working on the problem on public and private land. “In the future will there be any Ponderosa Pine left? There is danger of mega-fires from the dead trees with trees causing road side hazards. How will we replant trees and control brush on these large areas,” concluded Molen.
March 30, 2016 Meeting: The Annual Joint SAF meeting of the High Sierra Chapter, Reedley College Student Chapter and the Southern San Joaquin Chapter was held at Reedley College on Wednesday, March 30. The dinner meeting was held in the Faculty and Staff Dining Lounge where members dined on a fine BBQ Tri-tip dinner with all the trimmings.
After a short business meeting with officers from each chapter giving updates and reports the after dinner presentation was introduced by RCC Forestry Instructor Joshua Soderlund and student
officers. This year the group was privileged to view the premiere showing on the west coast of the new movie, “Americas First Forest – Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment.” The movie was produced by the Forest History Society and will soon be shown across the United States.
This documentary is the first film to examine the pivotal role of Biltmore Estate Chief Forester, Carl Schenck and America’s first school of forestry in American History. The movie is based on Schenck’s memoir, “Cradle of Forestry in America.”
In 1914 the Vanderbilt’s first private managed forest land in America was bought by the US Government and became the “Pisgah National Forest,” the first National Forest in America. The School and surrounding forests are now the “Cradle of Forestry in America National Historic Site.”
April 21, 2016, Chapter Meeting: The High Sierra Chapter held an evening dinner meeting on April 21, at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Fresno. Chapter Chairman Patrick Emmert opened a brief business meeting with committee reports before dinner.
The after dinner speaker was Guy Anderson, CALFIRE Forester II who is the Forestry Assistance Specialist (FAS) for the Southern Region of California. Anderson spoke on the basics of the California Forest Improvement Program (CFIP) and other CALFIRE programs to assist with the dead tree situation.
Anderson went over the key concepts of the very complex CFIP program. In order to benefit from the CFIP the land owner must have a minimum property size of 20 to 5000 acres that has at least ten percent forest tree cover. It must be zoned to allow forest management.
“CFIP is a state funded program aimed at improving the economic value and environmental quality of non-federal lands. The program has 75 percent cost share and could go as high as 90 percent on some projects,” said Anderson.
Those eligible for CFIP include: Individuals, Groups, Associations, Taxing public entities and Corporate land owners. The initial requirements of the landowner are to retain services of an RPF. You must have money available up front to pay for the projects until the reimbursement arrives. “This isn’t a way to have someone come in and clean up your property for you, you arrange to get the work done,” said Anderson.
He emphasized that the landowner must be accurate and precise in filling out the forms. For those interested in applying for CFIP assistance, or need instructions and forms go to the CALFIRE website.
High Sierra Conservation Day April 21, 2016: On Thursday April 21, the day before Earth Day, 125, fifth grade students plus teachers from Foothill Elementary School, and North Fork Elementary School attended the “Thirty-Sixth Annual Conservation Day” at the Sierra High School Nature Trail. This annual event is sponsored by the High Sierra Chapter of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) with cooperation from the USDA Forest Service (USFS), Southern California Edison (SCE) Forestry, The Forest Foundation (TFF), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Chaffee Zoo and UC Merced.
The students and teachers formed six groups that rotated around to the six different outdoor classrooms every 40 minutes.
Wildlife Biologist, Burleigh Lockwood from Chaffee Zoo staffed the first outdoor classroom. The students were amazed by her interesting facts and demonstrations related to different animal’s skulls, teeth, and bones.
Tom Catchpole’s “TFF – Talk About Trees” Presentation was featured at the Forestry stop. Students learned the ‘Web of Life’ activity, how pencils, paper and other forest products are made and facts about the local pine tree mortality.
UC Merced researchers Erin Stacy, Field Manager, Michelle Gilmore and Morgan Barnes staffed the Soil Station. The students had a great hands-on experience with a ground water and soil model that demonstrated how soil structure and texture affect erosion and water contamination.
The Forest Recreation class was led by SCE Forestry staff members Chuck Ervin and Jeff Pierini. They played an interactive game with the students based on the Survivor game that taught about how Forest Recreation and other forest management practices are interrelated.
USFS Archeologist, Steve Marsh had a display about local Native American Culture. They had hands-on activities demonstrating what an archaeologist’s job is like and why it is important to protect historical and pre-historical resources at the archaeological site.
At the Fire classroom Michael Gonzales, and Jason Madrigal, USFS talked about prescribed fire and the need to reduce fire hazards around your home. They incorporated a fuels treatment skit, a display of tools and equipment used in Prescribed Fire, and Fire Suppression for the students.
The local Hydro Staff from PG&E had interactive displays about Hydro Electric plants and other ways to generate electricity during the lunch break at Mary Barton Park behind the PC.
The overall theme was “Conservation of our natural forest resources begins at home.” The effects of our drought were discussed and how everyone needs to use renewable natural resources wisely. The students enjoyed this very informative day learning about renewable natural resource conservation.
Tom Catchpole built the Nature Trail about 38 years ago and has coordinated the event for at least 36 years, but who is counting.
May 2016 Chapter Meeting: At the time of this writing a field trip meeting was being planned for May but date and details were not available.
Science Days at Camp Edison, Shaver Lake, CA. Chapter members will assist in teaching at two SCE Forestry Department sponsored “Science Days” to be held near the museum on Camp Edison grounds. The dates will be May 20, and June 3, 2016. About 600 students and teachers from Foothill Elementary School in Prather, CA; Pine Ridge and Big Creek Elementary Schools will attended.
The overall theme for the day, “Forestry,” and how it is related to all renewable natural resources will be taught to rotating groups at 9 to 15 outdoor classrooms by High Sierra Chapter members, SCE Forestry staff and other specialists.
The Cecil B. Metcalf Memorial Scholarship: Fundraising is on going for the scholarship fund. Matt Meadows has headed up a “Fabiano’s Coffee Sale Fundraiser” which generates scholarship money.
Chapter Facebook Group: Check this out! The High Sierra Chapter has a Facebook group it is linked to the National SAF page and the NorCal SAF website. The page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/HighSierraSAF
Forest Conservation Days 2016- will be on September 26 to 30, 2016 at Sequoia Lake YMCA Camp. Help is needed for Forest Conservation Days at Sequoia Lake YMCA! We are planning on over 1000 students from the greater Fresno area. Thanks again to all the volunteers that helped in the past. New volunteers are needed in all aspects of FCD planning. The present staff has been doing the planning for many years and wants someone else to take over major planning such as school coordination and volunteer sign-ups and recruitment. FCD is a wonderful event and will not continue unless new people step forward and take over the coordination of the event.
For information contact: Don and Diane Dukleth at 559-841-3309 HM or 559-250-6752/
fcdschool @netptc.net or Thomas W. Catchpole, 559-855-2194 or firstname.lastname@example.org