A sick forest in Southington is getting a new lease on life.
Town officials told Eyewitness News a number of old and diseased ash trees at Crescent Lake need to come down. However, a group of Southington High School students got a hands-on lesson and some free lumber they'll be sure to put to use.
Many of the trees at Crescent Lake are infested with the emerald ash borer and that it will only get worse as the disease spreads. Others were damaged during the last two tropical storms.
That wood will not be wasted as high school students will use the lumber to build class projects.
"We could let them die and fall down," said Thomas Worthley, who is a UConn professor of forestry. "But A, it would be a hazard for anyone walking around and B, it would be kind of a waste in my mind as a forester to not be able to use that wood."
Town officials said they will eventually hire an outside contractor for the job.
Worthley gave teachers and students in the agricultural science and technology education programs on Tuesday an up close look at logging. Not only did Worthley use his chainsaw to cut down trees, but he also used a mobile saw mill, which turned the logs into lumber.
UConn's forestry program used the work for its graduate students. Town officials have a management plan to thin the forest and get rid of sick trees. And the students have wood, which is right from their hometown, for their future projects.
"It's really a great opportunity to see it come full circle, from gathering and harvesting the materials, processing to the students being able to take away a product from it all," said Justin Mirante, who is the Chairman of the Technology and Engineering Department at Southington High School.
The staff at Southington High School said they're already talking about using the lumber for making bat boxes, essentially putting the wood right back where it came from, Crescent Lake.
"I love that foresters are able to take the wood they use, not just waste it, but use it for all types of products," said Kelly Toomey, who is a junior at Southington High School.
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