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May 26, 2010

Member Highlight: Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Earlier this month I met with Loyal Clark who is the Public Affairs Specialist for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. I visited this USEE Institutional Member’s offices in Provo, UT, to find out more about the programs and services that they offer.

Loyal took me on a tour of their offices, which are located in the Will J. Robinson Federal Building, and I was able to meet most of the staff that works for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. There are quite a few people who work there, including civil engineers, cartographers, biologists, and administrative staff. It was very eye-opening for me because, though I know there are a lot of things happening in National Forests with many different career options, the Forest Service so often means forest rangers and fire fighters to me. I also learned about the services the Forest Service provides such as fire and forest management, campground and infrastructure maintenance, hunting information, maps (for trails and for other things such as grazing and water sheds), fire safety information, and all things Smokey Bear.

In addition to touring the building and talking with the staff, Loyal also showed me all of the different environmental education programs that the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest houses and they have some cool stuff! The staff often do school visits on request to talk about the forest. Most of these requests are from 3rd-5th grade teachers, but can accommodate any grade level. They also receive a lot of requests from high schools as well to talk about the different career opportunities within the Forest Service.

They also house educational displays that teachers can check out to use to teach their students about various environmental education topics such as climate change, watersheds, and others. They also have educational boxes that have curriculum, books, games, and specimens that teachers can check out for 2 weeks at a time to take back to their classrooms. Currently they have boxes about bats, insects, and tread lightly. Loyal is currently working to develop three new boxes in addition to the three they already have: climate change, the water cycle, and bark beetles.

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache also has more environmental and science education on their website. Just look for the “Learning Center” tab on the right hand side. There are pages about various outdoor education experiences, conservation education, the history and culture of the forest, outdoor safety and ethics, and pages for kids and teachers and parents.

Another excellent program the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest houses is the Diamond Fork Youth Forest. This outdoor learning environment is a natural outdoor laboratory where students are directly involved with a wide range of recreational and educational projects. For more information about the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest’s educational programs or the Diamond Fork Youth forest, visit their websites below:

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest
Diamond Fork Youth Forest

Thank you so much Loyal and the staff at the Provo office for letting me come and spend a day learning about your programs!
Photo Credits:

Wellsville Mountains - Becky Blankenship
Kids in the Snowy Woods - Cottonwood Canyons Foundation

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