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OA Forestry Team places second in San Bernardino

Oxford+Forestry+Team+members+Lynn+Jun%2C+Marissa+Lee%2C+Adeline+Vo%2C+Stephanie+Barajas%2C+and+Victoria+Tran+placed+2nd+in+the+recent+Forestry+Challenge.+The+team+worked+in+the+San+Bernardino+National+Forest+to+support+Upper+Big+Bear+Mountain+Club+in+doing+post-fire+treatment+assessment.
Oxford Forestry Team members Lynn Jun, Marissa Lee, Adeline Vo, Stephanie Barajas, and Victoria Tran placed 2nd in the recent Forestry Challenge. The team worked in the San Bernardino National Forest to support Upper Big Bear Mountain Club in doing post-fire treatment assessment.

After months of preparation, Oxford’s Forestry Team participated in the first annual forestry challenge of the school year on Nov. 8th through the 11th in San Bernardino. A great milestone for the group, Oxford placed second in high schools overall.

Throughout the four day event, students participated in a variety of field tests, in which they examined plant characteristics to identify its species, determined tree age by observing their growth rings, collected and analyzed outdoor data, and made mock management decisions regarding the forest’s future. Competitors were judged based on their performance on these field trials to determine their technical knowledge and information gathering skills in regards to forestry. This was paired with a 15-minute presentation from each group about their assigned environmental topic. The presentation held the majority of the weight, worth 60%, as opposed to the tests, worth 40%. Oxford scored an impressive 212 out of 250 points for both the presentation and field tests combined.

“Creating the presentation with so much data and outside sources to consider was overwhelming at times,” said senior Lynn Jun. “We didn’t have much time to practice presenting. In the end, though, we were in good spirits and [it] went great!” 

The challenge served as a valuable experience for those wishing to pursue a career in a related field, or for those with an interest in nature altogether, to immerse themselves into a natural world.

The challenge served as a valuable experience for those wishing to pursue a career in a related field, or for those with an interest in nature altogether, to immerse themselves into a natural world.

“Regarding majors, Marissa and I are pretty interested in environmental science and the natural sciences, which made this experience a lot more relevant and eye-opening for our futures,” said Jun.

In the months before the event, the forestry team dedicated time every Friday to learning the details and processes used in examining the environment.

“Every week we do something different,” said junior Stephanie Barajas, member of the Forestry Team. “One week we focused on identifying Ponderosa Pines, another week we learned how to find the diameter of trees and basics such as how to kill a tree in the best way.”

Aside from the trials the students participated in, students also partook in unweighted contests, such as the 66-foot pacing challenge, in which students were tasked with measuring out 66 feet without the help of any tools. Although the team didn’t place, they have plans to improve going forward.

Students also had the opportunity to participate in recreational activities in their free time, such as zip-lining, night hikes, and other thrilling diversions. 

“I personally loved it and I can say everyone else did as well,” said Jun. “It was such a different experience [from] the academic environment Oxford has, and it opened me up to such unique opportunities and perspectives that I would have never thought of.”

Going forward, the forestry team hopes to extend their knowledge and accomplishments even further, especially after having been selected for the forestry challenge championships, occurring next spring.

About the Contributor
Jimena Beltran, Staff Writer
Junior Jimena Beltran is beginning her first year in Gamut as a staff writer. After going to GamSlam, The Gamut’s annual slam poetry event, Jimena was instantly enamored by it — inspiring her to join The Gamut to help plan the event and share her opinions in her writing. In addition to exploring her writing skills through The Gamut this year, Jimena is also Co-Vice President of The Film Society and plans to actively volunteer with Key Club. With an eclectic range of interests — from her passion for theology, looking into the meaning in text and greater truths about humanity and history, to various hobbies that can last for weeks or even just days — Jimena is ready to take on the world, or perhaps just Gamut for the time being. Beyond Oxford, Jimena’s aspirations range from trying out as a mailman, at least once, to buying her very own yacht. For now, checking the lottery numbers everyday — even though she can’t play — and checking yacht websites to scout out the best deals (that she can’t purchase just yet) will have to suffice.