Submitted by Candra Grimm for Society of American Foresters: Grays Harbor Student Chapter

On a crisp fall day, students from around Washington State traded in their desks for an FFA forestry career development event (CDE) competition.  The event was hosted by the Grays Harbor College forestry-natural resources program.

Todd Bates, Grays Harbor College Forestry Instructor and CDE Coordinator, said this is the 8th annual event held where the school forest resides in the Satsop Business Park. The competition was broken into two venues. The indoor competition consisted of identifying trees, tree disorders, equipment, chainsaws, and interpreting maps. This portion was a rotating round that tested the students individually.

Later in the day the competition shifted outside where the students entered the school forest and competed in the compass and cruising practicums. Students used compasses to learn navigation techniques and measured trees by height and diameter at breast height. This is the standard practice of cruising timber. Students in the forest technology program at the college monitor each station and answer any basic questions the high school students may have.

Once the college volunteers tallied up the results, everyone gathered in the main hall to listen to the awards presentation. Todd stated there were 62 competitors this year including 14 teams representing 12 different high schools. He announced the top 15 individual award winners and they lined up for pictures.

The top teams included:

The 9th annual competition is scheduled to be held again next October.  All schools are welcome whether they have a FFA team or a natural resources or environmental education program or not.  Further information can be obtained from Todd Bates at or 360-538-2517.

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