GRAYLING – More than 120 Detroit high school students employed by the Greening of Detroit to clean up parks, and water and maintain trees in the city, headed to the Grayling area Aug. 8-10 to get an overview of what sustainable forest management means within the state.
The trip to Grayling is part of The Greening’ efforts to provide education and experimental learning opportunities for the Detroit youth.
The Greening of Detroit, a nonprofit environmental organization, employs about 200 Detroit high school students each summer to water, weed, and care for approximately 12,000 newly planted trees throughout the city. The Green Corps summer employees also clean up parks, participate in a variety of conservation projects, and learn many aspects of urban farming. Many of these young environmental stewards have not travelled outside of metro Detroit, and one of the program goals is to expose them to the natural world.
‘During the summer months, our Green Corps members earn a paycheck and become environmental stewards’ stated Devon Buskin, director of workforce development for The Greening. Members also learn of volunteerism as they are required to participate without pay at several functions during their employment.
‘Many of the Green Corps high school graduates go on to college to pursue ‘green’ careers.’
During the field trip the teens toured Hartwick Pines where they learned more about Michigan’ historic legacy of logging and tree planting, and the significance of old growth preservation; joined DNR foresters and wildlife biologist to see an active timber harvest on state forest land that is certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard; and visited AJD Forest Products, a green hardwood lumber mill. Students saw lumber produced from round logs, and learned about the total utilization of all by-products.
‘These young adults have already shown an interest in our natural resources through the work they do with their summer job,’ said Debbie Begalle assistant chief of the DNR Forest Resources Division. ‘By getting them ‘up north’ to see forestry beyond the urban environment, we can help provide a full circle view of what sustainably-managed forests look like and what the forest products industry means to Michigan.’
To keep students immersed in the forest environment during their time on the field trip, they stayed at the DNR Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. An evening of presentations by resource professionals familiarized students with natural resource career opportunities in MI.
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