The Starke County Forest has the potential to be a destination for hands-on learning. That’s according to Forester Bruce Wakeland, who donated the 129-acre property and currently manages it for the county.
He told the Starke County Park Board Tuesday that the future of high school education is expected to involve less time in the classroom and more hands-on learning. Wakeland said the County Forest offers lots of opportunities for that. “That would be a heck of a lesson for a group of high school kids to get in the middle of something like this timber sale we’re doing right now, follow it all the way through with the management of it, the mathematics of it, the logic of it, the science of it, the public relations side of it,” he said. “I just think that this property has a lot of potential for the direction of education.”
Park Board President Debbie Mix agreed. “If nothing else, it’s an open lab,” she said. “I also look at the [Bass Lake] beach as being that, too, because there’s all kinds of things that you could study there and in the forest, you have so much. In college, that’s what we used to do. We’d go take trips as a lab, to go out to the forests and look at different things, so certainly, that would be good for high school.”
It was also mentioned that the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society is planning a hike in the Starke County Forest. Not only will the tour highlight some native plants, but the group also wants to learn more about Wakeland’s timber management system.
Wakeland noted that the forest is being used, and it may be worth taking a count, to see how many visitors it’s getting.