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Students in ENVR 251 Ecosystem Management and Project Manager Darrel Jury, left, prepare a slash pile to burn on Feather River College’s campus. The community is invited to hear the class present “FRC Watershed and Forest Health: Fighting Fire with Fire” on Friday, May 10, from 2 to 3 p.m., in the Gallery on campus. Photos submitted

Public welcome at free FRC symposium highlighting student research on fire prevention and more

Wildfire is on the minds of many, and nobody wants to imagine one roaring through a local community or school campus. Feather River College is doing all it can to reduce wildfire threats by facilitating a collaborative project funded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

On Friday, May 10, from 1 to 5 p.m., in the Gallery on the upper side of the Quincy campus, FRC will host its second Student Research Symposium to highlight projects covering a wide range of topics, including the “FRC Watershed and Forest Health Initiative: Fighting Fire with Fire.”

The symposium is free and the community is invited to attend.

Environmental Studies students will present their work on the watershed improvement project between 2 and 3 p.m. The project is one of many being presented at the FRC symposium that is sponsored by the English Department, Writing Across the Curriculum, Student Success Programs and the First Year Experience.

Environmental Studies student Jake Carver monitors a freshly lit burn pile on FRC’s campus. Pile burning is part of the process of reducing the fuel load on campus in preparation for under burning.

Students from the Ecosystem Management class will present information about the watershed and forest health project and discuss next steps being taken.

The goal of presenting at the symposium is to inform the community about FRC’s plan for reducing fuels on campus in order to begin a program of ongoing under-burning. FRC hopes to serve as a model that communities can emulate to reduce risk of wildfire.

The effort fits into an ongoing Watershed Improvement Project managed by Darrel Jury and Terri Rust. Goals for that effort include reducing wildfire risk and improving watershed health to ultimately reduce the impacts of climate change on California’s communities and ecosystems.

This is all the more important in light of recent tragedies such as the devastating Camp Fire.

By executing this project, not only will FRC be taking steps toward a safer community and campus, but also fostering a healthier and more resilient environment that promotes biodiversity in the face of climate change.

“We need to protect our communities from wildfire,” said project manager Darrel Jury. “To do this, we need to build trails so we can access the forest and reduce fuels. Once that’s been done, we can reintroduce fire below those trails that serve as fire line. Our goal is to demonstrate this process on FRC’s campus.”

Hands-on learning for students is another important aspect of the research project. The Ecosystem Management class in FRC’s Environmental Studies Department has begun tackling the project head-on, not only in the classroom by organizing public outreach and informative meetings and documents, but also on the ground with hand piling and burning piles.

“When working on a burn pile, there’s something poetic about having the power of creation and destruction at your fingertips,” said class member Jake Carver of Quincy. “It’s a great feeling when you can improve the land around you and your community.”

For more information, contact FRC instructors Darla DeRuiter at [email protected] or Will Lombardi at [email protected].

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