SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Moharimet Elementary School Students Visit UNH for Day of Forest Activities
DURHAM — Moharimet Elementary School students spent some time outdoors at the University of New Hampshire this month, engaging in a variety of activities that coincided with this year’s curriculum theme, Year of Forest.
On June 1, students in kindergarten through fourth grade met with members of UNH staff, New Hampshire foresters and wildlife specialists to take a guided hike through College Woods, tour the UNH sawmill, and learn about indigenous plants and animals through various stations set up on the campus field.
“This day was filled with so many informative activities that were the perfect culmination to our yearlong focus on forests,” Principal David Goldsmith said. “Thank you to the UNH staff and the volunteers who provided hands on lessons to Moharimet students.”
At the sawmill on Mast Road in Durham, students watched a full demonstration on the inner workings of lumbering and then headed over to the Christmas tree plantation, where they learned how balsam firs are grown and harvested. UNH professor of forest technology Matt Chagnon sheared and shaped a selection of trees, with students watching in awe as he wielded what looked like a medieval sword over the trees.
The group then visited the UNH woodsmen team to witness the sport of competitive chopping, sawing and axe throwing. Finally, students stopped by to watch Leah Woods, of the UNH Art Department, carving large logs acquired at the sawmill and harvested on UNH lands, into what would eventually be a piece of furniture.
Back on the UNH campus, students toured around a variety of educational stations. At one stop, they investigated how tree rings provide data, not just about the age of the tree, but also about the weather. UNH Climate Adaptation Program Coordinator Lisa Graichen talked about the impacts climate change can have on forests and then led students through a carbon footprint activity, where they traced their feet and brainstormed ways they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., carpooling, biking, using less energy, planting trees, etc.)
At another station, Chief Paul Pouliot and Denise Pouliot, of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, and Svetlana Peshkova and Meghan Howey, both from the Department of Anthropology at UNH, introduced students to indigenous toys, games and artifacts that highlighted forests as a living environment fundamental to human existence.
“All in all, it was a good day for learning about human use of forest trees,” said Don Quigley, professor emeritus of forest technology at UNH. “There was a strong message of the need to conserve and use sustainably to ensure a healthy green forest that goes on forever in New Hampshire.”
Every year, Moharimet focuses on an enrichment theme that is introduced into each unit of study. School-wide assemblies included presentations from the Center of Wildlife about animals in New England forests and from Orion Tree Service on managing the health of forests
Throughout the year, students also tapped trees to make maple syrup, and Principal Goldsmith read weekly stories to kindergarten and first grade students, many of which incorporated forests.
Other yearly themes in the past have included Year of the Ocean and Year of the Artist.