Stewardship Day a friend of forest |

Stewardship Day a friend of forest

Andy Bourelle

The air smelled of freshly chipped wood.

The snarl of chain saws biting into trees resonated through the forest.

Perspiration-drenched volunteers carried branches and pushed wheelbarrows full of logs.

Biologists and forestry specialists held classes among the trees, educating children and adults alike about wildlife, soil conservation, forest ecology and the culture of the Washoe Tribe.

And at the end of the day, there was a big cookout.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe held its first Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day last summer, and the second event – held Saturday – was an even bigger success, League officials said.

“We broke the egg last year, and now we have something to cook with,” said the League’s Rich Kentz, organizer of the event.

About 180 volunteers – California Conservation Corps workers, U.S. Forest Service employees, Tahoe Turning Point children and many residents who simply heard about the event and wanted to help – showed up to the 15-acre parcel off of Pioneer Trail Saturday to cut down dead trees, pile slash, learn from education stations and obtain information from Tahoe Re-Green-, Sierra Club- and California Wilderness Coalition-sponsored booths.

The purpose of the event was to help improve the health of that particular forest parcel, a victim of high tree mortality, and educate the public at the same time. Oh, and it was supposed to be fun, too.

When asked if they had a good time, a group of 10 to 12 year olds from the Carson City-based American Evergreen Foundation simply shouted “Yeah!”

“We want to help a lot so they can get a lot of work done,” said 10-year-old Lacey Gascon. “We want to help the environment.”

The long-term goal is to have a day each year where thousands of Lake Tahoe residents and visitors can go to several sites in the Lake Tahoe Basin and work to help the forest.

A North Shore Tahoe Stewardship Day is planned for later this month.

“I think (the event’s success) is really good. We have almost 200 people. And when you think of all the competition for people’s time there is in the summer, there’s definitely an interest among people to come out and do projects like this,” Kentz said.

For information on the Aug. 29 North Shore stewardship event, people are encouraged to call Rich Kentz of the League to Save Lake Tahoe at (530) 584-1660

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