Natural Resource Institute Part II Focus on the Forest Held

Angie Bartholomay

Bottineau, ND - The Natural Resource Institute Part II "Focus on the Forest" was held June 9 & 10th at Dakota College at Bottineau. This was the second in a series of professional development classes for both formal and informal educators. This year eight formal educators from ND schools and seven informal educators from ND Park Service attended the institute providing an excellent mix of professionals which generated great conversations according to Angie Bartholomay, Associate Professor of Science at Dakota College and coordinator of the camp.

This Institute is a partnership between the ND Natural Resource Trust, ND Forest Service and Dakota College at Bottineau where educators were given an opportunity to experience current management and forest resource issues of North Dakota. While exploring the issues and identifying solutions, participants received real world, user friendly and classroom ready instruction from specially trained Project Learning Tree (PLT) facilitators, resource professionals and scientists. They also had the opportunity to receive one graduate credit.

This Institute is a partnership between the ND Natural Resource Trust, ND Forest Service and Dakota College at Bottineau where educators were given an opportunity to experience current management and forest resource issues of North Dakota. While exploring the issues and identifying solutions, participants received real world, user friendly and classroom ready instruction from specially trained Project Learning Tree (PLT) facilitators, resource professionals and scientists. They also had the opportunity to receive one graduate credit.

Following the institute participants will be able to transfer the institute's field studies to practical classroom applications. They experienced hands-on, minds-on learning through presentations, activities, field tours and environmental investigations. Each participant also received a Project Learning Tree guide containing 96 educational activities for them to use.

Amber Fogelsanger, a Natural Resources college student from Pennsylvania said "I am so thankful to have been able to attend the Natural Resource Institute at Dakota College at Bottineau. From learning about identifying trees and reading tree cookies, practicing various ways to measure trees, learning how to make our own paper, I learned so much from this experience. It was wonderful to brainstorm with other park interpreters and classroom teachers how activities we did could be most effectively taught. I walk away from this experience with a box of supplies for tree assessment, PLT book, website, network of connections, wonderful memories, lots of ideas & resources to use to teach others".

Todd Sivertson, Lake Metigoshe State Park said "Project Learning Tree provides "Real World" Field experiences in a natural environment. These are simply something the classroom environment cannot provide."

Dakota College believes that educating both formal and informal educators will assist in increasing environmental awareness among students, eventually leading to public awareness on the importance of natural resources and their conservation. DCB Instructors Dr. Shubham Datta, Janelle Green, Cody Clemenson and Angie Bartholomay along with ND PLT state coordinator Beth Hill facilitated the classes. During the institute participants:

*       became familiar with the value of trees as a natural resource.

*       learned how to perform a forest inventory through tree identification and tree measurements.

*       experienced applications of conservation techniques used in the study of natural resources.

*       visited the Denbigh Experimental Forest consisting of 636 acres, an arboretum and experimental forest operated by        the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture located 15 miles west of Towner, North Dakota.

*       toured the Towner Nursery the only conifer (evergreen) seedling nursery in North Dakota a facility operated by

        NDSU-North Dakota Forest Service which has been operating since 1951, annually producing one million     conservation trees. The trees are produced to meet the needs of North Dakota citizens, and are used primarily in         shelterbelts, living snow fences, wildlife block plantings, and other conservation plants. The nursery grows both bare- root and container trees.

Amber Fogelsanger, a Natural Resources college student from Pennsylvania said "I am so thankful to have been able to attend the Natural Resource Institute at Dakota College at Bottineau. From learning about identifying trees and reading tree cookies, practicing various ways to measure trees, learning how to make our own paper, I learned so much from this experience. It was wonderful to brainstorm with other park interpreters and classroom teachers how activities we did could be most effectively taught. I walk away from this experience with a box of supplies for tree assessment, PLT book, website, network of connections, wonderful memories, lots of ideas & resources to use to teach others".

The Natural Resource Institute will be back next summer with Part III-Wildlife; currently in the planning stages.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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