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Kids learn about forest products at education day

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

A game in which fourth-graders were to pick out products that didn't come from trees was one of many activities at the 21st annual agricultural awareness day May 15 in Yreka, Calif.

YREKA, Calif. — The students were stumped.

Presenters Jean Tomascheski and Marie Kennedy stood at a table filled with various household items, from shoes to toothpaste to Parmesan cheese, and asked students to pick those didn’t come from trees.

One child pointed to a piece of clothing. But it was made of rayon, a manufactured fiber made of cellulose, a key component of trees. Another student pointed to a container of Parmesan cheese, but it contains powdered cellulose as an anti-clumping agent, Kennedy told them.

“Ohhh!” the students gasped.

Finally Tomascheski pointed to a stick of chalk, a metal spoon and a peanut — which comes from a bush — as the only items not from trees.

“There are over 10,000 items that we use that come from trees,” she said.

“So we need to be thankful for trees,” Kennedy told the youngsters. “As foresters, we always make sure we plant new trees and that’s reforestation.”

The women finished by handing each student a tiny ponderosa pine.

“I’m going to plant this when I get home,” said Jameson Keeton, 12, of Weed, Calif.

Tomascheski and Kennedy are representatives from the Forest Foundation, which helps teachers educate kids about the forestry industry. Their wood products game generated plenty of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from the children who attended the annual agricultural awareness day May 15 at the fairgrounds here.

“It makes them see how valuable trees are as a product,” Kennedy said of the game, which included tree crops such as apples as well as products from harvested trees.

The game was at one of numerous stations at the 21st annual ag awareness day sponsored by the Siskiyou County CattleWomen and other local farm and ranch groups. Some 350 youngsters, mostly fourth-graders, attend each year to learn about what goes on at a farm or ranch.

At other booths, children learned about water with a hands-on, simulated stream, 4-H’ers told children the work that goes into raising farm animals, and kids took part in science experiments.

“There’s a lot of information kids are getting about a lot of different topics,” said Tami Frisbie, who teaches fourth grade at Weed Elementary School.

The timber industry has placed a big emphasis on education in recent years, as about 800 youngsters tour a forest products expo in Anderson, Calif., each February and hundreds more go up into the woods east of Redding, Calif., each spring to see a working logging site. Those outings are sponsored each year by the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference.

Tomascheski said the foundation often makes presentations in schools, bringing pine cones and talking about the industry’s efforts to be environmentally friendly.

“We just try to reach as many kids as we can,” she said.

Online

The Forest Foundation: http://www.calforestfoundation.org

Siskiyou County CattleWomen: http://www.siskiyoucountycattlewomen.com



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