Michigan, Wisconsin youth attend two-day educational event
OMA, Wis. — For the first time, Iron County hosted fourth and fifth grade students from across northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula for a Log-a-Load for Kids event Thursday.
The event continues today, with hundreds of kids learning about logging operations.
“Over the course of these two days, we expect more than 700 kids to be a part of this,” Joe Vairus, head of the Iron County Forestry and Parks Department, said. “It’s been a really great event.”
The Northwest Chapter of the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association sponsors the event each year, and donates proceeds to the Children’s Miracle Network.
“The county donates stumpage to charity and the mills and volunteers donate, as well,” Vairus said. “We expect close to $15,000 going to the Children’s Miracle Network from this one event. It’s a big deal,” Vairus said.
According to Peggy O’Connell, annual giving coordinator for CMN, there are three CMN hospitals in Wisconsin, and the northern region’s location is Ministry St. Joseph’s in Marshfield.
“One-hundred percent of the money that is donated stays local,” O’Connell said. “There are 170 CMN hospitals across the country.”
CMN provides funding for pediatric equipment for hospitals, funds preventive programs and helps families in need. It treats children to age 18, no matter the illness or injury.
“We couldn’t do what we do without events like these,” O’Connell said. “We appreciate every dollar.”
Students learn about wildlife, tree identification and fire control from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, watch demonstrations on a portable sawmill and view an active timber operation. Two processors, two forwarders and hand-cutters were working throughout the day.
“This is fantastic,” Hurley K-12 School teacher Scott Erickson said. “The kids were astonished by the technology of logging and the products that come from it.”
For Hurley teacher Dan Rye, the event tied together science and the history of the area.
“I would definitely bring kids back if they do this again,” Rye said. “I think the kids were really interested in it, because a lot of them know about logging, but don’t ever to get to see it.”
“It’s great because it gets all of us together,” Vairus said. “It’s a great way to reach kids about something that is a huge part of the history of this area.”