The leaves are out, spring has sprung, and Gorham Middle Schools students are learning lots about Maine tree species and how to measure and protect them for future use. Check out this update from teacher Angela Gospodarek!
Spring is finally in the air and the trees are starting to unfurl their new leaves. We had a great day today in class with Shane Duigan, a Maine Forest Service District Forester. He came in and spoke to us about the job of a State Forester and discussed the tools that he uses on a daily basis. He works with landowners in our county and a couple of other counties to determine how much wood is growing on their land and how much wood they are cutting. In the state of Maine there are 3,700 blind plots that the Forest Service surveys on a regular basis. The plots help to determine the ratios of growing vs. dying vs. cutting. The students learned that the information from these plots helps to determine the “Annual Allowable Cut” (AAC).
We learned how to use a tangent height gage and a dbh tape and discussed the reasoning behind the method of measurement. The students’ favorite term of the day came out in the discussion of why we measure the diameter of a tree at breast height. Mr. Duigan got them to thinking how trees grow and that some are wider at the bottom because of the roots. This widening at the bottom of the tree is called “butt swell,” definitely a hit with 7th graders!
—by Angela Gospodarek, Gorham Middle School teacher