The cornerstone of this program is the Elana Gold '93 Memorial Environmental Restoration Project. Established in 1993 through the Catlin Gabel School, the trip carries out land restoration projects in the Barlow Ranger District on Mt. Hood National Forest. Catlin Gabel students have contributed over 15,000 hours of labor in areas that were severely degraded by a century of cattle overgrazing, severe wildfire, and intensive salvage logging. The goal is to increase habitat for fish and other wildlife, decrease erosion, improve stream water-quality, and thin timber to reduce the risk of fire. Students build fences to exclude cattle and vehicles from sensitive wetland areas, install native plants along stream banks to shade and cool streams, and add woody debris to streams for fish and other wildlife habitat. Students will be working in different teams each day in this outdoor Harkness classroom. Each team will need to follow a forest ranger’s directive to safely accomplish their task using tools like hand screws, mallets and spikes, barbed-wire fence tighteners, and loppers. Roles and responsibilities may change throughout the day. Team members will be holding each other accountable as they communicate and problem solve.
In addition to joining Catlin Gabel students on the Elana Gold Project, the Lawrenceville group will venture to other sites where ecosystem restoration is taking place. At several stops along the Oregon Coast, we will view and discuss marine reserves in coastal waters. The group will meet with members of the Elakha (a Chinook trading language word for sea otter) Alliance near Newport, OR to view efforts of sea otter reintroduction. Another stop will be Springboard Forestry near Astoria, Oregon to learn about sustainable forestry, go through the process of turning a tree into lumber, and see what habitat restoration looks like. Along the way, the program will take in the scenic beauty of Oregon, including Mt. Hood, the 10 Falls Hike at Silver Falls State Park, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon Coast. Each night, students will meet to discuss highlights from the day and create journal entries.
We will stay at Nanitch Lodge on Mount Hood for the duration of the Elana Gold Project, and hotel/Airbnb accommodations for the remainder of the trip.