CHASSELL - Whether it be for oxygen or wood for homes, students at Chassell Township Schools know the importance trees.
Charles Eshbach, an environmentalist and conservationist, visited the fifth grade last week to put the students' knowledge of trees and forests to the test.
"Why are trees important?" he asked as students all over the room lifted their hands high in the air.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
Charles Eshbach, an environmentalist and conservationist, speaks to a class at Chassell Township Schools last week. The students learned about old-growth and commercial forests as part of the presentation.
The students named everything from fire to keep houses warm and shelter to paper and wood for household goods.
Before the trees are cut down, Eshbach told the class they are important for oxygen, to block the wind, to keep the erosion down and as a habitat for wildlife.
"We're spoiled here in the Copper Country because we have lots of beautiful woods to hike in and camp in," he said.
During a special presentation to the students, Eshbach told students the many reasons forests are important.
"In my presentation, I distinguished between an old-growth forest and a commercial forest," he said.
Eshbach, who said he is a forester, too, said he wanted to make clear to the kids the difference between old-growth forests, which are habitats for animals and have trees which are hundreds of years old, and commercial forests, which are managed and produce high-value products, such as wood for homes and goods.
"In our region in the Copper Country, we grow the highest valued hardwoods in North America and we need to manage these forests," he said.
Eshbach asked the class how many had parents who are loggers.
"In every class, there were a couple," he said.
Eshbach said through his presentation, he wanted to make clear the importance of saving old-growth forests, such as the Estivant Pines in Copper Harbor, and the importance of managing new forests for industry.
Eshbach also explained the importance of managed forest fires, logging and photosynthesis, the process of trees using sunshine for energy.
"The purpose of a fire is to thin the forest out and replenish the soil and start things over again," he said.
As part of his tree project with the schools, Eshbach was able to give out 150 trees, provided by the Lake Superior Tree Farm in Chassell. Each tree was a three-year-old blue spruce, he said.