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The team with their teacher, Jess DeVan and partners from the Feather River Resource Conservation District. Photo submitted

PCS students join fire restoration effort in Greenville

By Rachel Goings

[email protected]

Ninth-grade students from Plumas Charter School’s Indian Valley Academy finished a three-part reforestation project in the Dixie Fire burn scar this spring.

The students started by learning about post-fire forest restoration from their science teacher, Jess DeVan. “They learned about how fire has been used (or not used) in the past and how it helps with regeneration. They also learned the importance of leaving snags when clearing burn areas and the best ways to clear land depending on terrain, road availability and how much to clear. We also covered how forests protect watersheds and prevent erosion,” she said. In addition to the classroom sessions, the team took a field trip to the forest above Cemetery Hill in Taylorsville and learned about different trees and how to identify them. They also studied the Heart K Ranch area in Genesee, to look at various degrees of burn and regrowth.

Then, DeVan and her students partnered with the Feather River Resource Conservation District to develop a plan for an area at Coppercreek Camp in Greenville. “In preparation, we looked at various elevations and aspects of healthy forests to help the students decide what to plant and how to plant at Coppercreek,” said DeVan. They ventured to the historic camp owned by Sutter and Taylor Rogers on March 21 to flag the plot.

Before the Dixie Fire, Coppercreek Camp hosted youth camps for over 50 years. During the fire, they lost 28 structures, thousands of trees and critical power and water systems. Sutter Rogers said that the trees especially are sentimental to her family and contributed so much to the camp experience. “For some people, coming to Coppercreek was the first time they had ever been in the forest. For decades, kids and staff have recreated among those trees.”

Students finished the project on April 25 when they planted around 200 trees on 1 ½ acres. They planted an assortment of Doug fir, ponderosa and cedar trees. “Our hope is that the replanting will bring back a similar atmosphere where people can recreate, rest and rejuvenate in our forest, even if it does take years to come back. We also hope to pass on the desire to care for our forests and help these burn scars recover,” said Rogers. Coppercreek doesn’t plan to offer the same children’s summer-camp sessions but they have big plans for the future. Rogers said they will offer glamping cabins, sites for full-hookup RVs, tents, campervans, equestrian camping and more. Visit their website for more information.

Plumas Charter School operates learning centers in Quincy, Taylorsville and Chester. If you are interested in enrollment or learning more, visit www.plumascharterschool.org.

The ninth-graders went on multiple research field trips to study elevations and aspects of healthy forests. Photo by Jess DeVan
The late-season snow pushed back planting but gave the team more time to plan their project. Photo by Jess DeVan
Planting day! The team chose an area of the historic Coppercreek Camp in Greenville to plant 200 trees. Photo by Jess DeVan
Ninth-grader Nate builds a shade structure to protect his newly-planted seedling. Photo by Jess DeVan

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