Students participate in projects as part of a conservation program | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo courtesy of the ANF Conservation Student Association Summer Youth Team installing predator protection under a newly installed wood duck nest box.

A group of young workers learned to appreciate their environment, gained work experience and helped the Allegheny National Forest during the summer.

The ANF hosted a team of secondary school students in the Bradford Ranger District through the Student Conservation Association.

“For six weeks, the team worked tirelessly on projects throughout the Allegheny National Forest while learning about the work of the U.S. Forest Service and local conservation issues,” said public affairs officer Christopher Leeser.

The crew included high school students from Warren and McKean counties: Devin Colosimo, Noah Archer, Timothy (TJ) McAulay, Levi Wilson and Evan Swanson, along with their crew chief Ryan Galbreath, Leeser said.

Asked about the importance of the program and why he wanted to be part of it, Colosimo said: “Without nature, what do we really have?”

Photo courtesy of the Student Association for Conservation Young members of the ANF summer team peel bark from cut saplings for use as erosion control along a hiking trail.

“Work can always be fun working with the forest,” said Wilson.

“Working together, this team of young people has completed several natural resource and recreation projects in the Allegheny National Forest,” Leeser said. “They also learned about public resource management and the career opportunities offered by the Forest Service and other state and local governments.”

Projects the team has worked on and visited include:

¯ construction of a toll road along the Hector Falls Trail — in conjunction with the summer youth team based in Marienville Ranger District;

¯ plant trees, put a transmitter on a wood turtle, repair and install nesting boxes for kestrels and wood ducks – with the wildlife team;

Photo courtesy of the Student Conservation Association The 2022 Summer Youth Crews based in Marienville and Bradford Ranger Districts included (front, from left): Crew Chief Marcella Smith , Maria Catalano, team leader Sheena Wendell and Mckenzie Danekas; and (back row) Noah Archer, TJ McAulay, Levi Wilson, Crew Chief Ryan Galbreath, Devin Colosimo, Kaiden Danekas, Aidan Babb and Brody Stauffer.

¯ nominate wildlife trees in a logging unit and cruising trees for a timber sale, visit and learn about timber sale sites and road reconstruction sites – in collaboration with the team of lumbering ;

¯ inventory upper and lower floors and assist with tree planting, and visit age, grade and treatment areas and prescribed burn areas – with the silviculture team;

¯ weeding, mulching, watering and planting in district pollinator gardens; and

¯ visit to cultural sites and visit to an archaeological site project with the archeology team.

“This team of hard-working students was made possible through a partnership with federal and local governments, as well as the non-profit organization, Student Conservation Association (SCA),” Leeser said. “The team was sponsored and led as a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) team by the SCA-recruited Allegheny National Forest, with an educational program conducted by the Elk County Conservation District ( ECCD).”

The Elk County Conservation District (ECCD) provided educational programs for the youth team, Leeser said. “The model of the YCC program is to provide one day of educational activities each week of the program.”

“ECCD’s Victoria Challingsworth worked with the Allegheny National Forest to develop a comprehensive crew education program,” he said. “Each week they provided a focused educational program that covered topics such as storm and flood control, aquatic organism crossings, municipal water treatment, waste management and recycling, invasive species and forest management practices.”

“The Student Conservation Association was the right partner for this initiative, and they did a wonderful job leading the team. said Bradford District Ranger Richard Hatfield. “This program would not have been so successful without Victoria Challingsworth of the Elk County Conservation District who ran the Crew Environmental Education Days. Together, we have created an exceptional curriculum for students and encouraged lifelong ethics in environmental conservation and community involvement.


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