Energizing Your Future

Are you smarter than these fifth graders?

Would you know how to light a match with a hatchet? Do you know how to use a map and a compass to find your way through a forest? Do you know the most important factors if faced with a survival situation?

Those are just some of the skills that the fifth-grade class from Forest Park Elementary School in Crystal Falls, Mich., learned during a recent natural resources education experience, funded in part with scholarships from American Transmission Co. Judging by the thank you notes we received, it’s abundantly clear the students had fun while learning during their three-day stay at Trees for Tomorrow near Eagle River, Wis. Read on for a few memorable experiences.

“We learned how to make fires and what wood to use. First you use tinder wood, then kindling then logs. My team was really fast at getting the fire going and even got the water boiling.” – Abby

“It was really fun lighting the match with a hatchet!” – Skylar

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn Survival 101, in which I learned that you must have a positive mental attitude at all times.” – Gage

“This experience showed me how to survive in the wild. It also taught me to appreciate our forests and make sure they are taken care of.” – Kevin

“I’m really happy that I got to learn how to use a compass! I had no clue how to use a compass before you allowed me to take the lesson in orienteering here.” – Dalaney

“Whoever runs this place and picked who worked here did a really good job!” – Jackson

Trees for Tomorrow was founded in 1944 as a nonprofit organization by a group of Wisconsin paper and electric utility companies with the purpose of reforesting northern Wisconsin and educating the public about proper land management. The organization established an education facility at a former Civilian Conservation Corps training facility in Eagle River, Wis., and use the recovering Northwoods to teach the need for proper forestry practices. The single-focus mission on education began in 1967.

“Trees for Tomorrow has a pretty robust program,” said Todd Miller, senior environmental project manager, who is a member of the organization’s board of directors. “While the educational programs for elementary schools are a major focus, the organization offers experiences for adults via the Road Scholar program. It hosts international students, as well, so the organization has offerings for all age groups and cultures.”