Students present forest management plan

Environmental science students at Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School presented a summary of the 10-year forest management plan to the Board of Education Tuesday night. Standing (from left) are: instructor Tony Schabloski, Mason Snyder, Katie Tomasello, Caleb Bentson, Chris Dingman and Tatum White.

.CATTARAUGUS — Environmental science students presented a summary of a 10-year forest management plan on school-owned forests to members of the Board of Education Tuesday.

The Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District owns more than 50 acres of woodland off Leon Road in the town of New Albion. For the past decade, the property has been an outdoor classroom for Tony Schabloski’s environmental science students.

Mason Snyder, Katie Tomasello, Caleb Bentson, Chris Dingman and Tatum White outlined species of trees on five tracts. There are plans for using herbicides to kill some undesirable trees and plants including birch, striped maple and ferns.  

Up to 30 acres of the Cattaraugus tract could have a selective harvest of timber next year. This year the students plant to repaint the boundary lines. In 2022, the plan calls for thinning more than 15 acres on the Cattaraugus tract. Two years later, another thinning of trees in the tracts is proposed.

The overall forestry plan was submitted by Pioneer Forestry of Jamestown. The planner proposes deer exclosures in some stands in order to give seedlings a chance to grow. Schabloski said the forester proposes using the proceeds from timber sales to use to pay for the fence. He said the students had concern over the use of herbicides proposed in the plan.

There are plans for a sawmill on the property, but the state Education Department has so far refused to fund it because the program is too similar to a BOCES forestry program.

DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT  Dr. Sharon Huff reported on a proposed $1.4 million Smart Schools program focused on security. The first stage calls for expenses of $558,000. Security updates at the bus garage will cost about $200,000, Huff said. A new telephone system plus upgrades for the Cattaraugus and Little Valley public libraries’ wi-fi systems are included in the plan

Huff said the state’s Smart Schools bond will pay for security and technology programs.

Plans call for replacing 22 existing exterior camera at the campus and add another 10 new cameras. Seven-year-old interior cameras will also be replaced. A color coded flashing light system will signal lockdowns, lockouts and other emergency events.

The Smart Schools program is without cost to local districts, Huff said. A second round is expected in 2018.

The Board of Education thanked student representative Jason Opferbeck, who reports on student accomplishments and issues at meetings. Board members welcomed Cameron Dole, who will represent students next school year.

The board will hold its reorganization meeting July 8.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)