At the end of the workday, Thursday, June 6, Westwood students stand behind the pile of rusted metal they pulled from the ground and rolled barbed wire from fencing on lands surrounding Mountain Meadows Reservoir. Photo submitted

Westwood students learn about land stewardship

Learning how to be good stewards of special places was the lesson plan Thursday, June 6, for the seventh and eighth-graders as well as high school science students from Westwood Jr/ Sr High School.

Under the direction of Nils Lunder, stewardship manager of the Westwood properties for Feather River Land Trust, students worked on land surrounding Mountain Meadows Reservoir and owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

According to Lunder, PG&E is providing funds to bring youth to its property adjacent to the Mountain Meadows Gateway property owned by Feather River Land Trust to remove rusting metal and debris that has accumulated, eradicate non-native plants and close unauthorized trails by which hikers spread weeds.

The local Westwood students launched the first of many workdays. Lunder said over the summer Youth Outside would participate as well as the Sierra Institute. Youth Outside, based in Oakland, California, provides an opportunity for urban youth to have meaningful experiences in nature. Sierra Institute in Taylorsville, California, provides a five-week job opportunity for high school students to learn new skills through a program called Plumas Conservation, Restoration and Education in Watersheds.

With the funding for the project, Lunder was able to purchase tools youth working the cleanup sites can use to accomplish the job. He filled a trailer with such items as digging bars, trenching shovels, pitchforks, fence pliers, wire cutters, rock racks and pickaxes.

Westwood students divided into teams to accomplish the work that included the removal of barbed wire fences. Lunder told the students that a landscape is a reflection of the story of its past.

In addition to learning what a landscape is and what good stewardship looks like, the work is a way to introduce the students to jobs in the field of natural resources.