FARMINGTON — Pushing cut limbs and brush through a grinding chipper, 10 Forestry and Wood Harvesting students from Foster Technology Center worked together quietly Monday in the chilly morning air.

Tree limbs behind the scoreboard and the larger baseball diamond at Hippach Field were pruned by a professional service, Farmington Recreation Department Director Steve Shible said.  The work left large limbs and brush on the ground.

The pruning and clearing work needed so that a Farmington Fire and Rescue ladder truck could get through to get through to change light bulbs in the tall, field lights, he said.

Shible asked the class to help with clearing the path. Their efforts probably saved the town a few hundred dollars, Shible said.

In turn, the students were learning skills and training they can use throughout their lives.

Things like running a chipper for the first time or controlling a chainsaw so as to cut wood in the grass without hitting the ground and dulling the blade, Chris Maxim, the instructor said.

The larger pieces of wood were cut and stacked for use in the field house for ice skaters this winter, he said.  The brush they ran through the chipper.

Class members, juniors and seniors from Mount Blue and surrounding high schools, stopped for a break and some spoke briefly on what they liked about the class and the work.

“I like everything about it,” Zach Nichols of Livermore Falls said. “It teaches us about trees.”

“It’s fun, and it’s also a second option,” Brian Harris of Chesterville said of potential future occupations.

The students also learned about cutting their own firewood, Jonathan Ladd and Lucas Wright, both of Jay, agreed. Ladd is a fifth generation woodsman but is contemplating another career, he said.

Matt Given of Farmington also liked that the class teaches them about cutting wood.

Work such as that done Monday helps build skills and experience needed for students to eventually become a certified logging professional, Rod Spiller, an instructor said.

The most important skill is learning to do the work safely, he said. During the first year, students learn to be more comfortable working with the chainsaw.

The class offers a combination of classroom instruction, field trips, and hands-on training in the woods, according to its website. 

The class time is extended to four hours to allow the wood-site training, Spiller said.

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