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Backers exerting physical effort for school forest

Anne Pechacek, volunteer coordinator for Ellsworth schools, held up a t-shirt like the ones the first 50 people to register for the Panther Prowl Fun Run this Saturday will receive. Pechacek lined up student volunteers who joined others Thursday in a clean-up at the school forest, which Saturday’s run-and-walk will benefit. (Herald photos by Bill Kirk).1 / 2
Students got instructions before heading to Ellsworth’s school forest, behind the local middle school, for a clean-up Thursday.2 / 2

It’s one thing for people to say they support a particular cause, but quite another for them to physically demonstrate it.

The latter is precisely what those backing Ellsworth’s school forest are doing. First, there were community volunteers who brought tools to clean up the approximately 15-acre wooded parcel behind the local middle school Thursday, joined by students and area Scouts willing to help.

Then, this Saturday, participants in a Forest Fun Run/Walk will cover a route measuring around a mile through the parcel in the interest of gaining donations to the school district’s forest fund. Fairmount Minerals, the firm owning Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company with locations in Pierce County, will match any donations received for the fund, up to $1,000.

Katie Miller, EMS science teacher who’s assisted now-retired teacher Dave Johnson in developing the forest, has been part of the planning for Saturday’s event, billed as the “Panther Prowl Fun Run.”

“We wanted to promote community awareness of the forest,” Miller said last week about the reason behind the run and walk.

The local schools’ strategic plan, including a provision about environmental education, was actually the origin for the latest forest projects, she said. One outcome has been the realization a lot of area residents don’t know the forest exists. Another has been an emphasis on environmental efforts such as this, for which Fairmount has already awarded Ellsworth schools a grant for nearly $7,500.

For more please read the Sept. 18 print version of the Herald.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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