MEXICO — Forestry students at Region 9 School of Applied Technology are learning more skills because there is now an excavator for them to use.

Students other than those learning timber harvesting have been drawn to the forestry program because of the machine, instructors David Mason and Mark Beaudoin told the school board Wednesday night.

Mason, Beaudoin and automotive instructors Dan Richard and Jerry Pelletier gave presentations to the board.

“The excavator has broadened our curriculum,” Mason said. “We’ve gotten into environmental issues, such as temporary water barriers and bridge work. We’ve developed an entire new curriculum.”

Beaudoin said teaching the students to use the excavator has improved their skills with loaders and other heavy equipment used in forestry.

Mason said some students are in the class to learn skills for highway and other work.

The two instructors meet regularly with an advisory committee of local involved in the logging industry. Eleven students are enrolled in the forestry program.

The instructors were advised to use a GPS to ensure wood harvesting is done on the correct woodlot.

Richard and Pelletier outlined the automotive program, which has 22 students.

Richard said students are taught the basics of automobile maintenance such as welding safety, repairing or replacing brakes and brake lines, automobile lift safety and tire repairs.

“Students should learn the basics first, then learn rebuilds and other major repairs in college,” Pelletier said.

The automotive program also has an advisory committee of people involved in the industry.

The board will hear updates on other programs through the school year.

In other matters, Adult and Community Education director Nancy Allen said Erik Black, a former special education educational technician at RSU 10 in Buckfield, has been hired as the English and reading instructor.

She said use of the current General Educational Development test will end Dec. 3. Beginning in January, a new high school equivalency tool will be used.

She said the adult education program has 10 GED students.


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