Forestry Club competition starts Saturday at home

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home High School Forestry Club will start its competition season, hosting a contest Saturday morning, March 9.

The club has 19 members competing this year, said Adviser Dustin Nichol. “We’re really young. Over half are freshmen or sophomores.”

The club has a lot of people learning, and he is excited about what they’ve got going, Nichol said.

“I’ve got a lot of great kids, but they’re young and inexperienced. It’s kind of a building year this year. The kids are working hard.”

The team returns three seniors.

The club will participate in six competitions. State will be held in May followed by Camp 18, which is an all-state type of event.

Camp 18, held at Elsie, brings students together from forestry clubs across the state to work together and put on a show.

The club will participate in an annual Fire School in Sweet Home, scheduled for April 3-5.

They’ll be introduced to wildland firefighting, working with local fire officials, Nichol said. Already this year, Nichol took 15 students to the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District Fire Hall for CPR and first-aid training with Battalion Chief Shannon Pettner and paramedic Eli Harris.

The competition schedule is only part of the club’s activities.

The club offers an option for students to learn new skills in another industry, Nichol said. They do some activities for fun, such as the competitions, “but what the competition is about is to introduce kids to another industry to explore.”

They will participate in log scaling, timber cruising, plant identification and much more with local professionals, Nichol said. With that experience, they may choose to pursue a career in a related field.

“We’re trying to teach them to not only have some fun with the physical activity, but to teach them life skills,” Nichol said.

The Forestry Club also gives students who aren’t interested in athletics such as football, basketball or baseball a chance to participate in competition, he said.

Team members include freshman Kara Baker; sophomores Sean Qualkinbush, Dennis Baxter, Cayla Coonc, Julie Morgan, Brittany Poteet, Carl Steinborn and Justin Wolfe; juniors Jay Jay Baker, Amanda Coonc, Kourtney Dixon and Konrad Tackett; and seniors Emily Claborn, Cody Froman, Brian Lucero, Curtis Froman and E.J. Nichol. The club also includes two eighth-graders, Brycen Denver and Sydney Nichol.