Forest Health with DNR and the Future of the CASEE Forest

Timber cruise          You may not know this but the CASEE campus land is not owned by the school district. It is a land trust managed by Washington State Department of Natural Resources which the district leases to house administration, tech services, the family resource center, Summit View high school and the CASEE high school program.

           The CASEE high school program has worked with DNR over its 25 years on the site to create a robust Forestry and Natural Resource curriculum where students apply the concepts they learn in the classroom during field studies modeled after current industry practices. In 1997, just a few years after the campus opened, DNR harvested a patch of timber in the west forest allowing students to participate in the design and replanting of the clear cut. In 2001, DNR conducted a more selective harvest removing trees from another patch in the west forest allowing students to design a regeneration plan focused on improving wildlife habitat. Today high school and elementary students use these stands to learn about forest succession and other environmental concepts through CASEE’s signature experience based learning.

Tree bore          CASEE seniors had an opportunity to learn about careers in forestry as they joined DNR Forester Aaron Nelson for a forest health evaluation. They hiked through both the East and West forests learning to identify healthy trees as well as trees that look fine but had hidden problems that reduce their timber value. Aaron explained a number of harvest design strategies that would allow DNR to maximize profit from the stand while minimizing impact on the land. Additionally, seniors took tree bore samples to analyze the history of the trees growth and learned to use new forestry tools they had never seen before.

Prism           As our seniors are applying for colleges and preparing to enter the work world we are thankful that Aaron was willing to lend his time to these budding naturalists, sparking their interest in careers in natural resources. We are excited to continue to work with Washington State Department of Natural Resources and hope that future CASEE students will get to embark on a new timber harvest project soon.

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Brush Prairie, WA 98606

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