Story and Photos by Mary Bullwinkel
It’s happening all over the Pacific Northwest. Career-oriented programs and activities are engaging high school students and attracting the next generation of workers to the logging and lumber industry.
One such program is the Redwood Region Resource Rally, which takes place in the small town of Scotia, in northern California’s Humboldt County.
The 4th Annual Resource Rally attracted 200 students, teachers, and adult chaperones from seven northern California counties (Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Trinity, Lake, Sonoma, and Marin) to learn about natural resource career opportunities. The students were split into small groups and could choose from two pathways: agriculture or forestry and logging.
To welcome the students, Director of North Coast Agriculture Partners Sandy Dale said, “We are so proud that you are considering a career in the natural resources industry. For each of you who has decided that this is the avenue you want to take, today’s activities will help you answer the question ‘where do I see myself in this industry?’”
Students who selected the forestry and natural resources activities were bused to various locations on Humboldt Redwood Company’s property (in Scotia) to take part in presentations and hands-on learning demonstrations given by industry professionals. “I urged the students to ask questions and make a connection in the industry,” said Dale.
Stations included forestry, logging, heavy equipment operations, mechanic shop, fisheries and wildlife, a sawmill tour, and a career information workshop.
The agriculture group interacted with representatives from three local businesses. “Stops included the Alexandre Family Dairy, Humboldt Auction Yard, and Sarvinski Sustainable Farm,” Dale said, “where industry professionals gave tours and provided hands-on experiences for the students.”
During lunch at Fireman’s Park in Scotia, students heard from local College of the Redwoods representatives, talking about the forestry and agricultural programs at the school. Students also heard from Jason Queen, a Humboldt Redwood Company log truck driver, who said that there are truck driving jobs available right now.
Event sponsors included the Redwood Region Logging Conference (RRLC), North Coast Agriculture Partners, Humboldt Redwood Company, Humboldt County Farm Bureau, Green Diamond Resource Company, American Ag Credit, and California Women in Timber.
RRLC President Jesse Weaver of Redwood Empire Sawmills said the Resource Rally was an excellent opportunity for the next generation of workers. He told the students, “If college is in your future, great, we will have a job for you. If college is not in your future, great, we do have a job for you.”
At the conclusion of the day-long program, each student received a complimentary duffle bag, sweatshirt, water bottle, and USB drive pre-loaded with scholarship contact information.
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