By Jan Jackson –
Chartered in 2016, FRNL is the first statewide Career Technical Education program in the nation to accommodate students who wish to pursue careers and leadership positions in some phase of forestry, outdoor recreation, fish and wildlife, ecology, environmental science or other areas of natural resources. The group held their second annual convention April 27 and 28, 2018 at Hopkins Demonstration Forest in Oregon City.
FNRL of Oregon is the brainchild of Reynold Gardner, Agriculture and Natural Resource Systems Specialist for the Oregon Department of Education and Peter Matzka, OSU Clackamas County Forestry Outreach Coordinator. It is modeled after the 90-year old nationwide FFA program that provides a vital connection between classroom study, real word applications based directly on classroom instruction, leadership training and career placement. Matzka, who led the group through the first year to get it started, will continue to work with Executive Director Kirk Hutchinson as FNRL Advisor.
Throughout the first day of convention, students heard education speeches from Seneca Sawmill Company in Eugene and Basco Logging in Sutherlin and participated in technical events that included compass and pacing, demonstration speech, fire hose lay, first aid, ground log scaling, job Interviews, map reading, prepared speech, timber cruising, tool ID and tree ID events positioned throughout the Hopkins Demonstration Forest. The action picked up on day two with skill events that included arbor tree climbing, axe throwing, crosscut bucking, spur tree climbing cable splicing, choker setting, chainsaw bucking and log rolling (wet).
“FNRL isn’t just about coming to convention and sawing logs and throwing a few axes however,” Hutchinson said. “It is learning how to work hard, be on time, be respectful and learn to work in groups. Many will work in jobs we don’t even know about today so it is important get away from specific knowledge and focus on the type of worker you are. We need to prepare these kids to be successful in any job that may come their way.
“This summer we will be developing a handbook clarifying what it takes to be a chapter at both the local and state level and what they can do in their own schools and their own communities. It is this education beyond the classroom that I believe helps make lifelong learners and to help them realize that what we learn today will just be background for what we do tomorrow is important.”
For more information on FNRL of Oregon, call Kirk Hutchinson at 503-550-0471 or email him at Hutchfnrl@gmail.com
Photos by Jan Jackson