Five Branson students participated in the 2022 Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge, one group of a total of 117 high school students from 18 schools from the coastal and central valley regions of California. The event was October 12 to 15 at Redwood Glen Camp, in Loma Mar, CA. Students spent four days in the forest learning about the ecology and management of the forested landscapes that provide communities with water, recreational opportunities, wood products, and wildlife habitat.
One of the highlights for the students this year was the opportunity to conduct a forest inventory and post-treatment evaluation on the Camp Butano Forest Health Project. The Forestry Challenge allowed the students to learn about forestry and apply their measurement and communication skills in a real-life situation.
Riley Ericksen, Forestry Club Leader, described it as follows:
"The Forestry Challenge was a truly extraordinary experience. I have drastically improved my presentation skills, communication when collaborating with others, ability to analyze data sets, and work ethic. The course went into depth on complicated but extremely interesting topics usually only reserved for professional foresters and the subject information was taught in a fun and engaging way. The challenge was valuable not just academically but also socially, allowing me to become closer to my teammates but also meet passionate students from all over the state. Overall, an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested."