Vista del Lago Students Take 2nd in the Forestry Challenge


Alliya Esmael, Staff Writer

Each academic school year, high school students from all around California spend four days in a California National Forest closest to them for the Forestry Challenge, engaging in hands-on and critical-thinking activities.

Since 2003, the Forestry Challenge program has grown from one event to five, all around the state. There is a possibility that in the upcoming year, the program will expand to neighboring states.

Miranda Ayad, an AP Environmental Science and Biology teacher new to Vista took ten all-female students from Vista del Lago High School who attended the Leoni Meadows campground in the El Dorado National forest to collect data on ecology, botany, plant identification, outdoor ethics, and learned how to use and understand timber cruising and forest products.

All participants of the challenge benefited by learning and understanding the relationship between the forested environment and the community, and received an additional educational benefit by engaging in rigorous critical thinking exercises.

Sacramento New Technology, Vista del Lago, Foresthill, Grand Union, and Argonaut High Schools all participated in the El Dorado National Forest to compete for the most points by studying the Trestle Forest Health Project.

Vista received second place in the competition–the presentation was a Powerpoint project put together at the end of the trip, consisting of all data that the students collected regarding the Trestle Forest Health Project.

The students presented the project to a panel of judges who graded the presentation on the data collected and its accuracy.

“It was super fun,” said senior Sarah Manhart. “There was a ropes course and unlimited zip lining on one of the days.”

The Forestry Challenge provides students with academic knowledge on our forests close to home and gives them a chance to engage with students around the region. It’s perfect for students who wish to go into a career in science/forestry, and Vista gives the students a great opportunity to explore their interests.