With a goal of getting young people interested in forestry, Kentucky Farm Bureau hosted Forestry Day recently at Abner’s Branch, located on Pine Mountain near Bledsoe.
Several members of the KFB team, along with other volunteers, took 38 seventh and eighth grade students from Green Hills Elementary School on a three-mile hike through the forest giving them the opportunity to learn in an outdoor setting.
“A lot of times when people think of Kentucky Farm Bureau they immediately think it’s only about insurance,” said KFB President Don Miniard. “Actually, we’re a farm organization. It’s been one of my projects for the last 15 years to make people aware that we are more than just an insurance company.”
Miniard said KFB is a grassroots organization that believes in community. He said KFB is dedicated to serve the voice of agriculture by identifying problems, developing solutions and taking actions which will improve farm income. He said this will provide better economic opportunities and enhance the quality of life for everyone.
Kentucky Woodland Owners Association President Jim Corum offered history lessons, teaching students about land tracking, claiming land and what a forest looks like after management is done. Students were also able to explore a 50-year-old tree farm and taught tree identification, including the history of the American Chestnut and on controlling Woolly Adeligid in Hemlocks. They also learned about careers in forestry and master logging.
After having lunch at the Miniard homestead, students were given lessons on chainsaw and ax safety. Harlan County Soil Conservation Secretary Susie Mavinidis talked with the students. Local artisan Wayne Howard demonstrated beautiful handmade furniture which was built from local trees. The trip also included visiting a 3-year-old tree farm on Laurel Branch. Each student received a Forestry Day T-shirt.
“The purpose of this day was to educate our kids about the possibility of forestry in their lives and their future,” said KFB Secretary Nathan Boggs. “Forestry is a multi-million dollar industry in the state of Kentucky, so we wanted to inform our kids about pursuing careers in this field. By hosting Forestry Day, we are providing a stepping stone for these kids to one day, hopefully, become active in the field of forestry.”
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