Friday, December 12, 2008

GSC Students Restoring Yeager Airport

The forest technology students that are taking the soils and land reclamation class are working on a unique project while doing a service learning project. The project allows the students field experience in erosion and sediment control and reclamation processes .

The students in the Land Resources Department are assisting Yeager Airport officials with the reclamation of land around the airport necessitated by the airport’s runway extension and improvement project. The undertaking, which improves safety and expands the capability of the airport, requires the moving of more than three million cubic yards of rock and soil. The Glenville State College students are gaining vital real world experience, while Yeager Airport and the community will have received an exceptional reclamation effort.

The goal of the Land Resources Department is to make the disturbed area more scenic, provide diverse shrubs and trees for protection of the site, and enhance the wildlife on the area. The plants will reduce runoff, decrease sediment and provide for better overall site protection. Establishing woody plants on the site has initially involved sowing black locust, white pine and sycamore seed. Redbud seed will also be added. The redbud will provide spring color (purple) and the black locust will provide summer color (white). Both of these species are legumes and hearty and should enhance the soil while providing a visual break in the grass covered fill area.

Glenville State College students will return to the site in the spring of 2009 to plant a variety of seedlings. Norway spruce will be provided for visual blocks along trails. The spruce grow slowly but will eventually provide cover for wildlife and diversity in the landscape. Black locust, chestnut, and red oak seedlings will also be planted. Upon completion of the project, the disturbed hillside will be returned to an attractive, stable slope covered with a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pre-Conference Trip

Dennis Ringling contributed these pictures of the pre-conference trip to Ely, MN for canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a viewing of the rock pictographs near Hegman Lake, and a tour of the International Wolf Center.

Click on the slide show to see the pictures full-screen.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Minnesota DNR forest ecologist John Almendinger and forest soil scientist Dan Hanson held a hands-on field session in the Chippewa National Forest for forestry educators who convened at Itasca Community College in Grand Rapids for their annual conference. The group's focus is to improve the quality of two-year forestry programs at colleges and technician schools across the nation.

Itasca Community College was the host site for the 2008 Council of Eastern Forest Technician Schools (CEFTS) Conference. Educators from colleges offering two-year degree programs in forestry convened in Grand Rapids recently to compare educational methods and content, participate in forest tours led by area experts and visit the Forest History Center.

College instructors from nine states and New Brunswick, Canada, attended this year's conference, providing a diverse mix of forestry regions and educational institutions. Conference host Harry Hutchins, a natural resources instructor at ICC, was pleased at the conclusion of the week. "We did what we set out to do, which was to provide a selection of tours and sessions that would best represent this area," Hutchins stated. "Feedback from those who attended was very positive. Some even said it was the best conference they've ever attended. They got a good introduction to the ecologically based forestry in this region as well as a glimpse of our state's natural beauty." Hutchins was assisted by Brad Jones, his colleague at ICC who is also a natural resources instructor.

The conference began with an informal welcome reception with ICC Provost Mike Johnson, followed by the film "Minnesota, A History of the Land, Episode V: The Northern Forest," one in a series produced by the Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota and Twin Cities Public Television with major funding provided by the Blandin and Huss Foundations.

Day tours during the week included specialized segments in the Blandin Forest led by forest ecologist Cheryl Adams; Chippewa National Forest sessions with DNR forest ecologists Dan Hanson and John Almendinger and with U.S. Forest Service research technician Katie Lang; and a tour of the Cornish Hardwoods Forest with focus on SmartWood certification led by Aitkin County Land Commissioner Mark Jacobs. Each of the forest tours highlighted a specific aspect of forest ecology. Additionally, attendees were treated to an on-campus session with renowned forest ecologist John Zasada, an author and silviculturist specializing in items handcrafted from birch bark. The group also visited the Forest History Center, where they enjoyed tours of the logging camp and river wanigan, led by Ed Nelson, the Center's program director.

Most of the group arrived early for a two-day pre-conference trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where they canoed to the famous Native American pictographs on Hegman Lake and later took part in specialized tours at the International Wolf Center in Ely, led by Vermilion Community College natural resources instructor Lori Schmidt.

"This is a group with a specific purpose and narrow focus," Hutchins explained. "These educators are responsible for teaching the foresters of tomorrow...those who will be tasked with caring for our country's natural resources in the future. That is not an easy job, especially given the challenges created by modern times. We were able to show them some of Northern Minnesota's most beautiful forests and introduce them to Minnesota's forest management philosophies and methods."

The conference was underwritten in large part by the Blandin Foundation's Vital Forests/Vital Communities initiative and Itasca Community College.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tour of Blandin Paper Ownership, near Wilson Lake


Cheryl Adams, forest ecologist of UPM Blandin paper describes the management of Blandin Paper lands based on ecological habitat types.

During the tour we visited five stops of aspen, mixed conifer, and aspen mixedwood types. We also visited a jack pine seedling stock trial. Management is based on the productivity potential of a site, based strongly on soils, moisture levels, and the existing plant communities. For more information on UPM Blandin's forest management philosophy click here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2008 Meeting Group Photo

Here we all are at the start of the a very excellent meeting.

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