More Than Just Trees

“Keep asking questions and do something great with your lives,” said Joe Panci, our resident forester as we parted ways. With his amiable character and passion for trees, Joe left the CCL students enthralled by his immense knowledge during our session on forestry when they were able to be specialists in forest diversity, composition, soil, threats, and ethics. Building off their knowledge from Joe’s opening lecture and their exploration in the local trails, students practiced their public speaking and data organization skills by presenting their findings to the rest of the group.

This made a great prelude to the rest of the day which students spent paddling their way through two lakes and a river (over 6 miles), leading us to Palmer Tenderfoot reserve, a site that not accessible through land. This made the experience extra special for the students. Once there, we were able to hike through the forest where students took advantage of the experience by asking questions and using all of their senses to fully embrace our surroundings. Tara Guo makes this clear in her reflection on the day. She says, “I felt power through the river, the currents pulling me, guiding me to the secrets of the earth […] I have the loons gliding across the lake […] I have smelled the wintergreen scent of bay leaves, nature’s own perfume. I have touched the slippery skin of a toad, giggling as it jumped around in my hands.”

Loons in the water with Students canoeing in the background.

Students listened to Rod Sharka, a volunteer steward, who showed us through the Palmer Tenderfoot trails.

Students wonder how many people it takes to hug a tree!

Joe Panci, resident forester, talks to the students.