The Outdoor Classroom - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

The Outdoor Classroom

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GREAT FALLS -

Getting out of the classroom and immersed into the outdoors is the goal of the Youth Forest Monitoring Program. For the last seven weeks, a select group of Montana high school students had the opportunity to conduct research in the Helena National Forest. And it wasn't just for fun, students presented recommendations to the U.S. National Forest Service.

Expanding their world view is one benefits Conservation Educator, Liz Burke said students gain from this unique program.

“A lot of students come in not knowing about their neighborhood and the forest surrounding their communities, so one important thing they learn is just how many amazing resources there are for recreation, for getting out and exploring and for the many uses of our national forests," Burke said.

Capitol High School junior Megan Key said, this opportunity gave her skill sets she can use in any career path she takes.

"You get valuable knowledge, it's not just outdoor monitoring skills, you also learn presentation skills and speaking that'll help you in life and helps you get your foot in the door for jobs later in life," Key said.

At the end of the program students present their findings to the U.S. Forest Service and gives recommendations to better protect our natural resources. Senior Andy Turner focused his research on controlling weed population in the forest.

"We want to spray these areas with a herbicide in order to control the weed population we have growing there. We also want to deter people from spreading weeds such as hikers mountain bikers," Turner said.

Since 1998 the Youth Forest Monitoring Program says over 60% of its students have chosen careers in the natural resource field. Beyond the numbers students say this program has helped them navigate the academic terrain.


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