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LEAF Program Helps Integrate Forests, SchoolsSubmitted: 05/03/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

LEAF Program Helps Integrate Forests, Schools
GOODMAN - In the Northwoods, the forest surrounds us.

But are students in our schools learning enough about that natural resource?

A group called LEAF - Learning, Experiences, and Activities in Forestry - wants to make sure the forest is part of students' education - and culture.

It's an initiative of UW-Stevens Point.

"(We help with) learning how to use forests to teach all subject areas - math, science, language arts. We do that through providing professional development for the teachers and curriculum resources that are tied to standards," says Jeremy Solin with the program.

The Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District uses LEAF's help more than any other.

On Friday, leaders from other school districts met in Goodman to learn how they can make their curriculum more like it.

"Northern Wisconsin is a beautiful place, but we really need young people here, with their creative ideas and energy, sharing their knowledge and skills with us. This really helps to set a foundation and connect them to place, so that these are communities they want to come back to," Solin says.

Almost 5,000 teachers have participated in LEAF programs in the last decade.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Nicolet College's Motorcycle Basic Rider Course teaches folks to safely hit the road on their bike.

The class is in full swing for the season.

Nicolet College Rider Coach Mike Murray says even experienced riders can use a "safety brush-up" this time of year.

Riders should always wear their helmet, long pants and shirts, gloves, and boots.

It's also important to keep your eyes moving for critters that come out of the woods,especially deer.

"If you know you're going to hit it: let off your brakes, hit it with your handle bars straight ahead looking straight ahead so that your bike stays straight up," says rider coach Mike Murray.

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MERRILL - One hundred years ago, Finland gained its independence from Russia. As part of Finland's birthday, a sauna will travel the United States.

On Thursday, the traveling sauna stopped in Merrill. Since January, the sauna has been traveling around the country.

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RHINELANDER - After nearly 40 years as a pharmacist, Tom Welke has been robbed, threatened at gunpoint, and had his pharmacy burgled.

"It just kind of goes along with the job, in a way," Welke said in Rhinelander's Apothecary Pharmacy on Thursday afternoon.

One of the main reasons lately for those crimes tends to be people trying to get their hands illegally on pseudoephedrine pills, which they can use to make meth.

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GREEN BAY, WI - Firefighters had to rescue a man after his minivan became wedged in a drawbridge in downtown Green Bay.

Officials say the van got stuck between one of the opening spans and the fixed roadway on the Walnut Street Bridge early Thursday.

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RHINELANDER - Bill Makris taught P.E. at Rhinelander High School for 30 years. But he's since shifted his time to teaching summer camps.

"These are kids that want to be here," said Makris.

The camps aren't your typical workshops or outdoor activities.

"Strength training, speed development, agility," said Makris.

He helps younger kids concentrate on attainable athletic goals.

"I do like running track and cross country so I want to increase my speed ability," said Rhinelander 8th grader, Sage Flory.

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RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.

There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.

"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.

All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.

"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."

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The Marshall Wildlife Conservation Center in Lac du Flambeau hosted a volunteer work day to dismantle a deteriorating pier and platform on a new conservation land donation.

Northwoods Land Trust Executive Director Bryan Pierce says the land has a creek and pond with many swans and beavers.

"We're going to be installing a brand new pier, so it will be a real nice wildlife observation area for people to look at the water, the swans and cranes," said Pierce.

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