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Students from the Key Club at Ghidotti Early College High School, in Grass Valley, learn how to use a relascope to measure the height and diameter of trees in a study plot they created recently on forest land owned by Nevada Irrigation District on Scotts Flat Lake, 5 miles east of Nevada City. From left are Key Club Secretary Sam Hales and club President Riley James, who get a lesson from forester Kevin Whitlock, right, hired by NID to manage a fuels reduction program on the land.

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. January 12, 2017 – Members of the Ghidotti Key Club are working with Nevada Irrigation District staff and consultants to improve and protect the watershed around Scotts Flat Lake.

NID reached out to us at the Key Club to collaborate on a study of the forest surrounding the lake and the Cascade Shores neighborhood. The forest and the watershed it covers are threatened by overcrowding and nonnative pests. Our shared goal is to improve the forest’s general growth and welfare, which also protects the watershed.

To achieve this goal, we students helped NID to create a study plot. A study plot is a small area used to test a strategy or idea before its use is widespread.

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During a recent visit to the area, Key Club members helped NID create a study plot in an area planned for chipping, a strategy in which smaller trees (with a diameter less than 12 inches) are cleared to decrease competition in the ecosystem. Felling and chipping started in December 2016 on 82 acres of forest NID owns by the lake, about 5 miles east of Nevada City.

It was a learning experience for us kids. We learned how to measure trees and spaces to create the circular study plots. In the next few years, the Key Club and NID will continue to work together to monitor the plots. Overall, the project and the collaboration have begun as a success, and we are enthusiastic about the next opportunity to work together.

Ghidotti Key Club is an organization at Ghidotti Early College High School, in Grass Valley, and is devoted to helping our surrounding community.

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