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Students Raise Key Issues with Lawmakers

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Travis Bogdan (Hadley-Luzerne CSD), Greg Shambo, Cameron Ovitt, Donald Carpenter (all of Warrensburg CSD), NYS Senator Betty Little, Environmental Conservation & Forestry Instructor Dennis Flynn, and William McEnaney (Warrensburg CSD).

Thirteen students and their instructors from the Environmental Conservation & Forestry program at the F. Donald Myers Education center in Saratoga Springs participated in Forestry Awareness Day (FAD) at the Legislative Office Building in Albany on March 6.

FAD is sponsored by The Council of Forest Resource Organizations. Each year a committee identifies issues for volunteers, students and members of business and industry to raise with their local legislative officials. For 2017, topics included: Forest Property Taxation, Urban Forestry, Community Forest, Wood Energy and Forest Health & Sustainability, Private Forest Stewardship Cost Share and the Environmental Protection Fund. 

In advance of the visit with legislators, 27 students in the program worked alongside foresters at the New York State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs to learn about soil compaction and how to properly pot 300 white spruce seedlings into mugs, which were provided by The Council of Forest Resource Organizations (CFRO)

As students met legislators in Albany on March 6, they gave them a potted white spruce seedling as reminder of the important issues they discussed.

Environmental Conservation & Forestry Instructor Dennis Flynn has been participating in the event since 2008.

“It is a great experience for students to get out and meet legislators. It is an opportunity for them to understand the role of a legislator and see them in their own work setting,” said Flynn.

“And, senators and assemblymen also get to know the issues that are important to students and learn about their future plans,” added Flynn.

Students were surprised about how open and receptive the legislators were to what they, as students, had to say.

Greg Shambo, Warrensburg CSD said the lawmakers “were excited to talk to us and showed a lot of appreciation for our visit.”