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High school science students address spruce beetle epidemic

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Photo submitted DHS students core a young sub-alpine fir tree to determine the average age of different tree species in a sample study plot.

On Oct. 27, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests hosted a forest ecology workshop for 75 high school students enrolled in AP environmental science and AP biology from Delta and Cedaredge high schools. Resource specialists from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Forest Service and Western Slope Conservation Center led students in collecting field data on forest ecology specifically related to watersheds, spruce beetles, timber, recreation, wildlife and fire risk. The data students collected in the field will be used in the classroom as students develop proposals for how the U.S. Forest Service might respond to the spruce beetle epidemic and create a sustainable forest ecosystem. Youth engagement will be a key focus for the upcoming Forest Plan Revision and many of these students will be encouraged to participate in the future planning efforts.

Photo submitted Students use clino-meters to compute the average tree height in a sample study plot.
Photo submitted Students from DHS examine galleries formed by brooding spruce bark beetles and larva in Engelmann-spruce living on the Uncompahgre Plateau.
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Grand Mesa, School
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