HACTC Students Succeed at the 2017 Winter Forestry Competition

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Trying to Identifying 25 trees by only their winter twigs is a hard task for most people.  But two Hartford Area Career and Technology seniors from Woodstock Union High School made it and more look pretty easy. Ezra Astbury from Bridgewater and Spencer Cole from Reading, along with four other HACTC teammates, finished in the top ten in a forestry annual competition.

The State of Vermont Department  of Forests, Parks  and Recreation along with the State of Vermont chapter of the FFA host an annual competition at the Vermont Farm Show.   This particular event is called the “Winter Forestry Competition”.  The competition is designed to be a focused learning opportunity for all 16 technical and career centers in the state of Vermont.  After long hours of classroom work  and outside preparation,  exceeding 30 hours,  the students get to strut their stuff against over a hundred other students from all over the state of Vermont at the competition.

The Winter Forestry Competition is much more than just identifying trees by their twigs. The students also need to be able to correctly  identify over 35 tree pests, bugs, diseases and the signs of damage. Also in this competition the students must answer questions covering the production and marketing of christmas trees, and maple syrup.  Other questions focus on invasive bugs and pest control procedures.

The Upper Valley senior students of Natural Resource program did a great job, better than any class in the last 25 years.  The highest HACTC score was earned by Ezra Astbury (Bridgewater), second place.  Other top ten state  finishers from HACTC were Justin Koloski (White River)  and  Jaden Sanborn (Hartland) tied for fourth, Spencer Cole (Reading) fifth, and Gus Chapman (Canaan NH) sixth and Summer Raymond (Hartland) seventh.

Both Ezra and Spencer gave high praise and thanks to John Hiers of Woodstock Union High School.  At WUHS both students learned the foundation that helped them achieve their success.

Thomas Ostler

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Natural Resources Instructor



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