September 26, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

Youths aligned their measuring stick and eyed the tree 66 feet in the distance trying to determine how many 16-foot logs it contains.

The lesson was part of the annual 4-H Junior Forestry Field Day for students aged 9 to 13.

Doug McLaren, University of Kentucky Extension forestry management specialist, said the event brings together many groups with an interest in the forest. Specialists from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and timber industry representatives provide the expertise for the field day.

"It's just an opportunity for a better appreciation of our resource of timber in Kentucky," McLaren said. "To do that we are going to teach them how to identify trees and how to determine the amount of board feet in a tree. When you go to the grocery, you buy a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs and a pound of butter. When you go to buy timber you buy by the board feet. The last event is compass and pacing - determining direction and distance."

Many of these activities are life learning skills, McLaren said.

"Everyone should learn how to determine the points on a compass and pacing can determine rough estimates of distance," he said. "With tree identification, everybody likes to have some knowledge of the resources around them and taking tree measurements is a very basic fundamental of forestry."

Sheena Thomas-Brown, Livingston County 4-H agent, said she's been bringing youth to the field day for 17 years. The event allows the students to use their math and science skills, she said.

But to the 4-H members, it's about enjoying the outdoors.

Tucker Adams of Calloway County was attending the forestry field day for the second year.

"I like this type of thing," he said. "I like to hike and the outdoors. I learned a lot last year and thought I'd come back this year and try to do better. I'm OK at tree identification but I'm still learning and I can always do more."

Natasha Archer, a Livingston County 4-Her said friends told her about the event and that it was a lot of fun.

"I'm into measuring and height," she said. "And I like to be around trees."


Doug McLaren, 859-257-2703