Had Pike Lumber Company not stepped up to sponsor me at the 2015 Indiana Forestry Teacher Institute, I would not have experienced a life-changing week as I did. While the discussions among colleagues are always enlightening, the explanations of how the state of Indiana manages its forests went beyond interesting and beyond important to the overall health of the ecological and economical infrastructure of the state. The facilitators, Donna and Lenny, inspired a group of diverse educators from all over the state of Indiana to help change the preeminent mind set of a negative perception regarding the DNR’s management practices, and the intentions of forestry product industries such as Pike Lumber Company.
The guests, who spoke of selective cutting, patch cutting, and clear cutting, spoke not just of economical benefits, but also of species health and diversity. The speakers relayed interests of promoting regeneration of tree species that might otherwise disappear. They spoke of increasing health of remaining tree stands through reducing over crowding. The HEE project is a scientific data collection method that is openly available for class discussions and analysis. As a high school environmental science teacher, I hear many misperceptions about how the state and forest product industries see forestry management. I now have a wealth of knowledge that fuels my intellect to create lessons and discussions to promote balance among students’ and their parents’ forestry management perceptions. I cannot thank you and Pike Lumber Company enough for providing me with this opportunity. Please continue your support for future institutes.
Daniel K McGill