OREGON CITY — Future Natural Resource Leadership of Oregon members did everything from racing to build a campfire to learning about finding a job in forestry at the organization’s third annual convention.
Some 131 members from 12 FNRL high school chapters attended the gathering April 26-27 at the Hopkins Demonstration Forest in Oregon City.
Of those attending, 125 competed in technical and applied skill events and classroom instruction.
Designed and sponsored by the Oregon Department of Education as a way to ready students for possible careers in forestry, outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife, ecology, environmental science or other natural resource areas the program also helps students meet state diploma requirements.
Chartered in 2016, FNRL membership and events are growing.
“Our main increase is coming from new chapters,” Kirk Hutchinson, FNRL executive director, said. “Schools like Falls City, Kalama and Crook County high schools came as visitors last year and joined this year.”
Different schools will attend some other FNRL events such as Wildfire School, Leadership Camp, the Envirothon held at the Oregon Gardens and the Oregon Logging Conference, but not others.
“It’s one way I try to solve the riddle of FNRL growth and development,” Hutchinson said.
He said the leaders “expect a lot out of the students but try to have fun as well.”
New this year at convention was the first annual Kettle Boil, an event fashioned after a well-known timed logger event in Nova Scotia. Using only an ax, a prescribed number of sticks of wood, one piece of newspaper and a book of matches, teams competed to build a fire under a can of detergent water and be the first to get the water to boil over.
La Pine High School placed first with a time of 4 minutes and 57 seconds and using one match, McMinnville placed second at 6:21 and one match, Philomath placed third at 6:43 and one match and Clatskanie came in fourth at 7:34 and using two matches. In addition to skill and technical events and speech, job interview and written expression sessions, small groups of students rotated through 20-minute workshops showcasing job opportunities available through Oregon State University, Seneca Sawmill Co., Oregon Coast Aquarium and Miller Timber.
On Friday, Forest Chambers, a 19-year veteran with the Eugene Fire Department, gave a talk on how he started in the forestry department at Philomath High School and worked his way through summer firefighting jobs with the Oregon Department of Forestry and then went to EMT school before landing his current job.
“He gave tips on what employers were and were not interested in and advised them that as new employees it was a good idea if they had big eyes, big ears and a small mouth,” Hutchinson said.
New state officers elected for the 2019-2010 year were:
• President: Grant Clemenhagen, Sabin High School.
• Vice President: Becky Belcher, Sweet Home.
• Secretary: Taylor Couture, Philomath.
• Treasurer: Clara Blasser, Tillamook.
• Social Media: Liam Powers, Tillamook.
• Sentinel: Sam Mitchell, Sweet Home.