Forestry students using BHS woods to study, improve health of land

Published 4:58 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

When Bainbridge High School first began developing their campus, they knew the resources available would be abundant to their students inside and outside the classroom. Their latest resource has been the forestry that surrounds the campus and the students are learning about the wildlife, tree health and land development.

During the early days of the school being built, administrators decided the agriculture department would be in charge of maintaining the trees.

The agriculture department recently decided to clear some of the land by removing the diseased trees in order to enhance the residual trees and help them be healthy. The land had become overgrown with trees, allowing for some of the dominant trees to harvest all the nutrients and sunlight and never letting the smaller trees reach their full potential.

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Forester, Perry Clements said they plan to remove these trees in order to help the wildlife, among other things.

“We want to thin it out and leave the best trees and help enhance the understore vegetation, which is very beneficial to the wildlife that lives here.” Clements said.

Clements also said that the high school has timber on their land that has to be taken care of and manage them.

Forestry teacher, Farish Mulkey is now helping educate his students by letting them mark the dead and diseased trees that will be harvested for pulp wood and measure the width of the trees to make sure they are the size the company will accept. His students had previously seen animals such as, deer, gopher tortoises and turkey out on the land, but since the trees have had fewer nutrients, the animals have begun to disappear.

Not only will this process of removal help the wildlife, but it will also provide a safer environment for the students. The land right now is very dense and dark and assistant principal, Vonda Hubbard believes this will help the faculty be able to see any suspicious activity that is happening on their property that they may not have before.

The agriculture department is excited about these changes and wants everyone to know this is a natural process. They are not harming the trees in any way. If it was not taken care of by them, Mother Nature would take care of it Clements said.

The process of tree removal should take approximately one week, but the effects of what the department is doing should last for another 50 years, according to Clements.