LONG CREEK – Decision making and collaboration may not be standard high school academic subjects, but, Long Creek students had the chance to attend a Umatilla Forest Collaborative meeting in February.

There, the students witnessed the value of respect in conversations between diverse partners. They learned that to solve disagreements, people need to focus on the issue rather than on the other people.

In all, 15 students attended the program and after listening to a discussion of logging systems and project alternatives for the Kahler Basin project, each student was able to take time to visit with individual collaborative members. The one-on-one conversations covered an explanation of the National Environmental Policy Act, types of logging operations, riparian conditions and other topics which are common to collaborative efforts.

Students also asked questions of the full group. Those questions covered the students concerns about grazing, fish populations and forest road restoration. Members of the collaborative and the Umatilla National Forest answered the questions and offered further information.

The North Fork John Day Watershed Council, who planned the meeting offers thanks to the students and to the entire collaborative partnership for an educational opportunity for everyone.

Elaine Eisenbraun is the executive director of the North Fork John Day Watershed Council.

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