New Tech students use computer modeling to learn how forests can survive fires

e-Connections Post Sacramento New Technology

Eleven students from Sacramento New Tech High School participated recently in the 2016 El Dorado Forestry Challenge, one group of a total of 84 high school students from 13 schools from northern California.

The event was October 26-29 at Leoni Meadows Camp, near Grizzly Flats. Two of New Tech’s three teams scored in the top 10 of the 20 teams at the event.

One of the highlights for the students this year was learning how to conduct a “Brown’s Transect,” a method to quantify woody debris on the forest floor.

The study area was the site of a fuels reduction project in 2008. Students entered the data into a fire behavior computer modeling program to determine optimum conditions under which to conduct a prescribed burn in the project area. During the Challenge, teams of students also completed field training, followed by a field test, to assess their technical forestry knowledge and data collecting skills.

“The Forestry Challenge is a unique and real-world experience for high school students that opens their eyes to much of what is special about California,” said Sacramento New Tech High School teacher Jerry Huang.  Francisco Torres and Riley Ramos, both juniors at Sacramento New Tech High School, summed it up as follows: “Forestry Challenge is a great way to learn about all of the hard work that goes into managing our forests and has opened the doors to a new career choice.”