Students at Sitka High School are building furniture that’s truly Alaska grown. The wood in their furniture projects has come from red alder trees harvested in young-growth forest in the Tongass National Forest.
“It is exciting to bring local wood back into the classroom,” says Sitka High School construction tech instructor Randy Hughey. “It has been a great opportunity for the students to learn about the local resources available and how using them can support our local economy."
Young-growth lumber is an increasingly available resource in Southeast Alaska, and a new guide published by the Sitka Conservation Society profiles a variety of projects – including two at the Sitka High School – that are testing the limits of how young-growth can be used.
“Alaskan Grown: A Guide to Tongass Young Growth Timber and its Uses,” is a practical tool for builders, woodworkers, consumers, and others interested in learning more about the quality of Tongass young-growth timber and how it can be used. The guide, published with support from the National Forest Foundation, explores the common species of young growth on the Tongass and profiles projects throughout the region that use young growth in a variety of ways.
Projects featured in the guide include:
“There are a lot of opportunities for using young-growth timber from the Tongass, but consumers and others need to understand what those are, and why it’s important to buy locally when possible,” said Sitka contractor Marcel LaPerriere, who owns Southeast Cedar Homes and uses Tongass wood. “I believe this is an opportunity to raise awareness and increase the commercial use of local young-growth around the region.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy
Executive Director, Sitka Conservation Society
Instructor, Sitka High School
Director, Pacific Northwest Research Station