By Guest Blogger:
Executive Director, Minnesota Logger Education Program
On a crisp day in late October, the Minnesota SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) Logger of the Year – Jim Scheff – fired up his Husqvarna chainsaw and prepared to fell a towering 88 foot tall white spruce, soon to become this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. This specific tree has a massive 30 inch diameter and was a gem hidden deep within the Chippewa National Forest that only a few had ever seen. Now as hundreds looked on, Scheff eased the chainsaw into the trunk of the tree. The cheers from the crowd of onlookers quickly drowned out the sweet hum of the chainsaw as he finished his cut. There was no cry of “Timber!” and the tree didn’t make a ground-pounding thud. Instead, two cranes held and slowly lifted this tree unto a waiting trailer that would serve as its chariot for the 2,000 mile trip to Washington DC, where it will decorate the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
All along the way, the tree will be celebrated in communities big and small. School kids, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and adults alike will have a chance to see the tree. When they do, it provides an opportunity to tell our story and the integral role active forest management plays in maintaining healthy forests, providing wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and jobs!
To that end, the Minnesota SIC worked with local Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts to organize an ornament decorating station during the tree tour stop in Duluth, MN. Kids will receive a tree cookie and be able to create their own keepsake ornament. Each cookie includes an insert on how to determine the age of a tree by counting its rings. There is also a QR code which links to the MN SIC Facebook Page.
Jim Scheff is a member of the Minnesota Logger Education Program (MLEP) and a Minnesota Certified Master Logger. These two programs provide the training and certification needed to meet the requirements in the SFI Standard for Qualified Logging Professionals and Certified Logging Professionals. SFI’s logger training requirements and support of programs like MLEP help to ensure loggers have the training needed for safe, productive and environmentally responsible timber harvesting.
Watch the video here: