By Nick Sestanovich
Last year, seven Benicia High School students joined science teacher Emily Hudson to participate in the Santa Cruz Forestry Challenge, a competitive event held at Redwood Christian Park in Boulder Creek. After three nights of learning how to identify and measure trees, becoming familiar with forestry tools and creating a script for an application to provide self-guided tours of the area, Benicia High students placed fourth and fifth. Not bad for a set of students that had never participated.
This year, 12 students took part in the challenge from Nov. 16 to 19 at the same location. Out of 117 students from 14 Northern California schools, four Benicia High School students took first place.
As the adviser, Hudson was thrilled with the outcome.“We were overjoyed with winning first place,” she said. “There were a lot of school there that usually do very well and are more around forests than Benicia.”Although last year was Benicia High’s first year participating, Hudson herself is no stranger to these competitions. She used to bring students to participate when she taught at franklin High School in Elk Grove. Of the 12 participants this year, two— Mara Guerin and Ciara Roybal— returned from the previous year. With a larger number of students this year, fellow science teacher Kevin Sinats also served as a faculty adviser, which Hudson says was very helpful.