Mary Lory and husband Ernest Lory own 80 acres of forestland in Grizzly Flat. It’s been in Mary’s family more than 100 years.
The Lory property was deeded to Mary by her aunt, Margaret Morey Odlin, in 2003. Her great-grandfather, Edward Morey, originally purchased the land from the Mount Pleasant Mining Company in the late 1800s. Morey lived on the property and mined on it.
Mary Lory is familiar with the history of the area and California forestry. The oldest daughter of Georgetown-born forester and former El Dorado County Supervisor Joe Flynn, Mary and her siblings spent much of their growing-up years in ranger camps throughout the Sierra Nevada, Coastal Range and Southern California forests.
The Lorys did a timber harvest on the property in 2006-07. In 2009-10, they did a mastication (grinding) and fuels reduction project on the land. Now they are in the process of preparing a timber management plan.
As private parties, the Lorys need financial aid to pay for the costs of keeping their forest healthy. A timber management plan is required to apply for federal and state grant money.
In early 2012, Cal Fire and The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, released the California Cooperative Forest Management Plan. Using a common template meets the management plan requirements for grant agreements and other provisions available through any of the agencies — Cal Fire, NRCS, U.S. Forest Service or the American Tree Farm Association.
Before deciding what would go into such a plan, the Lorys agreed to host the 2012 California Forestry Challenge in El Dorado County.
The Forestry Challenge is a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth education. It was created and organized in 2003 by Diane Dealey Neill, of Cameron Park, as a competitive event for high school students. With a project-based learning approach, it uses the forest as a classroom to teach technical forestry and current forestry issues.
The Forestry Challenge conducts four events throughout the year. Each one lasts four days. They take place in Shasta, Tulare, Santa Cruz and El Dorado counties. Dealey Neill expects to add a Southern California event this year.
The El Dorado Forestry Challenge involved 53 students in 13 teams and 12 teachers from eight schools. Forty-two resource professionals and area residents volunteered to support the program.
At each event, students are presented with a different real life problem, based upon the conditions of the study site. In this case, the challenge was to design a California Cooperative Forest Management Plan for the Lory property.
The students camped at Leoni Meadows and traveled 6 1/2 miles to the study site. There they viewed a meadow, a canyon creek, a Nisenan arc site and forested areas. They heard expert commentary from Ernest Lory, retired microbiology professor at Ventura College, on invasive species, prior use, change over time and future goals, and from Robert Little, Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit area forester, on watercourse classification, riparian zones and options for crossings. They studied the tree species and road system.
They learned that the Lorys’ had several goals for the property. They were:
• Timber production
• Maintenance of recommended clearance for wildfire protection
• Reforestation where needed
• Restoration of meadow habitat
• Reduction/control of undesired plant/insect infestation
• Maintenance of roads and trails for access and management
• Erosion control where needed
• Development of appropriate stream crossing(s)
• Preservation of archeological sites
• Identification of tree and plant species
• Development of forestry education site.
At the site, the students participated in typical forestry activities, such as trail construction, seedling counts and cut limb removal. Teams of students completed field training, followed by a field test, to assess their technical forestry knowledge and data-collecting skills. The field tests counted for 60 percent of their overall scores.
A registered professional forester consulted with each team on how best to use the Forest Management Plan template to achieve the Lorys’ goals for their property. The teams each prepared a 15-minute presentation of their plans. The presentations counted for 40 percent of the overall scores. A panel of three judges scored the presentations.
Two teams from Ponderosa High School participated in the Forestry Challenge. One team earned first place, the other scored fourth.
The Lorys said they enjoyed hosting the students, and the students came up with a number of good ideas they could incorporate into their forestry management plan.
Dealey Neill said her mission is to get young people into the forest and let them learn what really happens there, what the issues are and why they are important. “If some of them decide on a career in forestry, that would be wonderful,” she said.
As secretary of the Amador-El Dorado Forest Forum, an organization that provides scholarships for students majoring in forestry, she encourages young people to learn more about the opportunities. She is also available on Career Day at local high schools to answer questions and provide information.
Student and teacher evaluations of their experiences at the Forestry Challenges, plus more information, are available on the Website, forestrychallenge.com.