December 9th , 2015 -On December 9th, students from Franklin Elementary School’s Multi-Age Classroom joined Land Trust Board Member Reed Wendel for a day of tree planting at the Lyre Conservation Area.
A former student in the Franklin program, Wendel always knew he wanted to spend his days in the great outdoors. “I grew up here, taking in all of the opportunities for outdoor recreation, backpacking and fishing with my family and the Boys Scouts”, states Wendel.
Throughout his years, Wendel held tight to this childhood love of the natural landscape evolving into a first job as a wildland firefighter, a Master’s in Forest Ecology, and ultimately to his current work as an Inventory Forester for Green Crow where he has worked for the last five years.
Wendel now has the daily opportunity to expand upon his boyhood love of the forest by applying his ecology knowledge and expertise. “It was a great opportunity to be able to share both my passion for the outdoors and my passion for science with the students”, states Wendel.
Franklin School parent Megan Davis initially reached out to Wendel in the hopes of finding an opportunity for the students to learn more about forestry science. Wendel chose to connect them with the North Olympic Land Trust Restoration happening at the Lyre River.
“As a board member for North Olympic Land Trust, I thought a tree planting project at the Lyre River Conservation Area would provide a great opportunity to teach about reforestation and conservation”, states Wendel.
The Lyre Conservation Area represents the largest land protection project for the Land Trust in their 25 year history. Preparations are underway to restore the 280 acre property and make it open for public access.
Wendel was excited to join the group for the project as he fondly recalls a tree planting field trip he took as a student.
“As an elementary school student at Franklin, I too participated in a planting project with my class, planting trees at a stand along Mt Pleasant Rd. Even though our class only planted a fraction of the trees in that stand, it felt like we replanted an entire forest”, states Wendel.
Wendel hopes the students walked away from Wednesday’s project with a better understanding of how reforestation works, becoming more knowledgeable about the tree planting process, and the understanding the basics of how forests evolve over time.
The opportunity to bring his experience full circle was on work time. “I am proud to say, Green Crow encourages us to get engaged in the community”, states Wendel.
Students will have a first look at the conservation property that North Olympic Land Trust staff expect to officially open for public access later this month. Visitors to the property will be able to enjoy day use activities such as fishing, bird-watching, wildlife viewing, surfing, beach walking and picnicking.