The 6th, 7th and 8th grades of East Range II School traveled to Grand Lake Stream to explore the forest protected by the Downeast Lakes Land Trust.
“These students specifically came here to learn how different people and animals all use the forest, and discover ways that everyone’s needs can be met in a community forest.” said DLLT Education and Communications Manager, Tanya Rucosky. “That is a topic near and dear to our hearts, as we manage the Farm Cove Community Forest to protect lake shores, improve habitat, provide recreation, and support jobs in the forest and on the water.”
Students wended their way through stands of birch and white pine, learning to see the forest’s resources first from a Native American perspective and then as European traders, colonists, and finally in terms of the modern users. “People don’t intuitively think forests have much to do with fishing, for example,” Rucosky explained, “But tree roots hold the soil and filter the rain water. You can’t have clear lakes and streams without well-forested hillsides around them.”
Students wrapped up their day by choosing position cards and representing various forest users from lumbermen, and lodge owners, to eagles and togue. “Managing a forest doesn’t have to be all or none,” reflected one student.
A student representing salmon agreed, “You can do things like catch and release, which doesn’t hurt us much and brings fishermen into the lodges.”
East Range II’s principal Charles Murphy spoke to the relevance of the class for his students saying “Many of their fathers drive log trucks, and it was their grandfathers and great-grandfathers who worked the log drives and were up in the woods in the winter with cross cut saws.”