School Forestry Tours Hit 50 Year Mark

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, September 16 2013 at 3:44 PM, Updated: Mon, September 16 2013 at 3:59 PM

A remote section of forest is serving as a classroom this week for about 600 sixth graders from Klamath County, as part of a popular forestry tour program that's now been around for 50 years.

Ron Loveness of the Winema Hoo Hoo Club, a brotherhood of forestry workers, says his message to kids about forest products hasn't changed much over the past 45 years he's been involved with the program...

"Actually, the message is pretty much the same.  We're in a renewable, the new word is 'sustainable' resource - and we do surprise them with some of the things that are made out of trees."

The annual school forestry tours began in 1963, and provide a pleasant break for teachers, and students.

"Well, yeah - because we're not really doing math, or spelling, or anything."  Says Saige Mathis of Stearns School.  ""it's kind of nice to go out in the woods."

But the students do learn lessons, like how to identify trees...

Nicole Murrey of Ferguson School notes:  "There's many types of different woods."

Gavin Olivier of Ferguson School got a sampling of wildlife biology, and how to classify animals by what they eat...

"What kind of, 3 types are there that they learned about?'  'Herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores."

Other stations included lessons on fire suppression...soils, and forest management...and what to do if you're lost in the woods.

"Stay put, and hug a tree."  Notes Saige Mathis.

And Ron Loveness intends to stay put with the forestry program as long as he can...

"As long as I'm able."

The forestry tours have been held every year except 1993, when an earthquake raised safety concerns about school bus travel over bridges.

This year's forestry tours will continue through Wednesday.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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