- Additional Plants: trees, ornamentals
- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
- Education and Training: youth education
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration
Youth will learn about sustainable forestry through a field trip to the Alford Forest, a 3,200 acre forest in the Missouri Ozarks. Students will learn about biodiversity and timber stand improvement during a hike through the forest, watch a sawmill demonstration, learn how to plant a tree, and share a meal featuring forest products. Students will also learn about agroforestry, and the emerging carbon market. The short-term economic incentive for clear-cutting local forest is high. This project will present forest-based agriculture as a viable alternative and make youth aware of the economic, environmental, and social benefits of sustainable forestry.
Detailed Project Plan and Timeline
The field trip will occur in April 2016. Spring is a wonderful time of year to be in the woods as wildflowers are blooming and ticks are still relatively dormant. Spending the day in the Alford Forest will be a perfect way for youth to see the three pillars of sustainability in action, and will hopefully inspire them to become good stewards of our local forests.
The economic viability of sustainable forestry and agroforestry will be discussed as we tour the sawmill and eat lunch. Students will learn how low-grade logging and timber stand improvement can increase long-term profits by enhancing forest health. We will also discuss carbon sequestration and the considerable economic opportunities in the carbon market. The sawmill demonstration and tour of the lumber yard will show students how lumber is produced.
The Alford Forest demonstrates immense social responsibility by focusing on the long-term benefits of the forest rather than the immediate income from clear-cutting. The Alford Forest is a also a valuable community resource in that it provides a local source of sustainable lumber, and enhances quality of life for those who live nearby.
The ecological aspect of sustainable agriculture operation will be demonstrated during a hike through the forest. Students will see, smell, hear, and feel the forest first-hand. They will learn to identify a variety of species of trees, shrubs, understory plants, wildflowers, mushrooms, and native fauna as well as geographic formations. We will discuss how the trees and plants can be used, and why it is important to preserve the biodiversity of forest ecosystems. Agroforestry crops including mushrooms, fruits and nuts, and medicinal plants will also be discussed during the hike.
Students will discuss what they learned at the end of the day and will complete a short quiz to gauge their interest and understanding.
David Haenke, Executive Director of the Alford Forest Inc. and manager of the Alford Forest will be the primary resource. He will explain sustainable forest management, the carbon market, and the importance of biodiversity. Eric Tumminia will demonstrate how to run the sawmill and how to mark trees for thinning.
During the hike, we will refer to “Missouri Wildflowers”, “Trees of Missouri”, and “Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms” from the Missouri Department of Conservation for species identification.
University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry video series on Alley Cropping, Windbreaks, Riparian Forest Buffers, Silvopasture, Forest Farming
ATTRA’s “Agriculture, Climate Change, and Carbon Sequestration” and “Agroforestry: An Overview”
Photos and descriptions of the tour will be posted on the Lutie School facebook page and the Ozark County Homegrown Food Project Page, which have 455 and 506 followers, respectively.
Photos and an article on the project will be submitted to the Ozark County times, the weekly local newspaper. A poster on the project will be displayed at the Ozark County Homegrown and Homemade festival in May 2016. Amelia will present at the Ozark Area Community Congress in September. She will also present to at least one local club on the project.
Student and Community Impact
Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the importance of Ozarks forests and how they can be good stewards of the land by applying sustainable forestry techniques.
They will also become familiar with the following practices and concepts:
Timber stand improvement
The three pillars of sustainable agriculture Carbon sequestration
The agriculture teacher will be asked to evaluate the impact on the students and on his own knowledge of sustainable forestry
At the start of the tour, students will be surveyed on their existing knowledge by show of hands. There will be a group discussion and quiz at the end of the day to measure their comprehension and change in attitude.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Teach youth about sustainable forestry through a field trip to the Alford Forest, a 3,200 acre forest in the Missouri Ozarks.
- Engage students with the ecology of Alford Forest and familiarize them with sustainability practices and concepts including timber stand improvement, biodiversity, agroforestry, carbon sequestration, low-grade logging and economic opportunities in the carbon market.
- Extend the impact of the field trip by posting photos and descriptions of the field trip on school and local food group Facebook pages, submitting an article to a local newspaper, and giving a presentation at the Ozark Area Community Congress and local clubs.