Walter Moon, Van Osdell, Mary Ann, Hotard, Steven L., Barrett, Joseph D. | 5/13/2008 1:47:53 AM
WINNFIELD – High school students attending an educational program recently learned the importance of the forestry industry as well as career possibilities and safety issues.
The event was put on by the LSU AgCenter in conjunction with the Louisiana Forest Festival Committee.
Donny Moon, LSU AgCenter agent in Winn Parish, said good workers are needed in forestry, which is the state’s highest valued agricultural enterprise.
The students rotated among programs in all-terrain-vehicle and hunter safety, timber management, equipment, wildlife, wood products and professional timber sports.
Joe Barrett, LSU AgCenter agent in Bossier Parish, put teams together to demonstrate ATV safety. The students gathered helmets, gloves, chest and shoulder protectors, long-sleeved shirts and pants, goggles and boots.
“You’re not worried about being tacky. You’re worried about being safe,” Barrett said. “Protect your head. Protect your eyes from getting scratched by bushes and dust. Boots protect your ankles.”
He said the shirt protects from sunburn and briars, pants protect from burns and gloves keep hands soft after riding all day.
Barrett also addressed making sure the ATV fits your age limit and that everything is working properly. “You want to know how to go, stop and start them up,” he said.
Barrett warned of accidents. “Plan for the unexpected,” he said. “You have to watch other people.”
Barrett said ATVs are fun but asked, “How many of you would like to go riding and break your leg or not come back alive?”
Moon said Louisiana has the highest ATV sales of any state. “Almost everybody has access to ATVs and needs to be safety oriented,” he said.
Paul Alsup, who is with the Winn Parish Sheriff’s Department, addressed hunter safety.
“Hunting is a great sport,” he said. “When you pick up a gun, you are responsible for it.”
Alsup said there is no substitute for common sense.
“It can take just a few seconds for everything to go south in a hurry,” he said.
Steve Hotard, LSU AgCenter forestry agent, gave a talk on how to identify leaves. He said the definition of a tree is a woody, vascular plant that has to be 20 feet tall at maturity.
“It has a large crown with lateral branches and leaves,” he said.
Hotard said trees can be identified by their leaves, bark, fruit and where they live, adding that they are important for wood products, wildlife and shade.
Chad Knight and Albert Brazzel with the U.S. Forest Service explained machinery and what a cord of wood produces: 7.5 million toothpicks, 942 1-pound books, 4.3 million postage stamps, 460,000 personal checks, 1,200 copies of National Geographic and 12 dining room tables.
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or firstname.lastname@example.org