Written by Lisa Sperling

Brookwood High School recently installed a professional 3D laser cutter and engraver in the classroom where students take Forestry Science, the second course in the new Agriculture Pathway offered at the school. Thanks to a grant of $7,000 from Spherion Staffing & Recruiting, Brookwood’s Science and CTAE departments were able to purchase a new Glowforge tool for the business side of the curriculum that develops entrepreneurship skills.

Forestry Science exposes students to multiple concepts beyond dendrology (the study of woody plants and trees). It covers forest economics as well as the making of a sustainable business by integrating classroom and lab activities with real-world, outdoor settings. To develop entrepreneurial skills and understand the dynamics of communication and customer relations, students create surveys, communicate with potential customers, and advertise and sell their own creations. All proceeds go to charity or back to the program.

This spring the class will play a big part in the Brookwood Aquaponics farmers market and plant sales events. Forestry Science students will sell items created with the laser engraver alongside thousands of plants cultivated primarily by the students who take Natural Resources Management and Basic Agriculture Science classes in the adjoining room.

However, the highlight of the class this year is the new pollinator garden established in collaboration with the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts. Outside of the outdoor classroom, students have been prepping land and soil to scatter more than 1,000 seeds from Georgia-native pollinator plants. The goal is to promote pollinator habitats among the birds and the bees and more in our local community. Look for these flowers behind the school by late spring or early summer. Soon it will also encompass a nature trail and bridges.

Photo caption: Students Nahomi Binyam and Derek Masterson use the Glowforge 3D laser engraver to create custom nameplates and other products for Brookwood’s Forestry Science class.