California Academy of Mathematics and Science juniors Zoe Storaasli and Ivy Goodwin recently travelled to Russia, where they won third prize at the 16th International Junior Foresters’ Competition for their research paper entitled “The effectiveness of different brush removal methods in the Los Angeles area.”
The students had received a scholarship from the USDA Forest Service International Programs office to cover the costs of their travel to the event and were accompanied by a USDA Forest Service program manager for Russia, Europe and Eurasia.
“Our students usually do well at Junior Forestry, but this is the first time CAMS has made it to the international competition,” CAMS Principal Wendy Poffenberger said.
Storaasli and Goodwin’s research included field observations and interviews with hazardous fuels managers in the Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.
The International Junior Foresters’ Competition is an annual event hosted by the Russian Federal Forestry Agency, which brings together youth from nations around the world to promote and reward young scientists for their interest and efforts in the environmental field. The event also encourages international dialogue concerning forestry and other natural resource management issues.
This year’s competition took place in Voronezh, Russia. Thirty-one young adults, ranging in age from 14 to 22 and representing 27 different countries, defended their projects in front of an international jury that included researchers and forestry experts from Russia, Europe, China and the United Nations.
The USDA Forest Service and the Russian Federal Forestry Agency have been collaborating for more than 50 years on research, technical cooperation and policy issues. Given that Russia contains more than 20 percent of the world’s forests, it is in America’s interest to understand trends in Russian forestry. The collaboration between the two agencies emphasizes important themes such as forest inventory and monitoring, wildfire management, illegal logging and climate change.