This school year students in IDEA’s Academy of Construction and Design carpentry classes will add a new skill to their repertoire. Using a wood-drying kiln provided by DDOT Urban Forestry, ACAD students will learn how to dry fresh-cut lumber sourced from DC, for use in IDEA and DDOT Urban Forestry projects.
“DDOT Urban Forestry, in partnership with the US Forest Service, purchased a portable sawmill several years ago,” explainedAssociate Director and State Forester Earl Eutsler. “A year ago we decided to focus on high-grading lumber generated by our municipal tree management program and supplying durable wood products to local schools.” The program has created and delivered outdoor benches for public schools and school gardens to expand outdoor teaching space, and partnered with IDEA and Phelps ACE, which are DC’s only public schools offering carpentry instruction.
“The highlight of the partnership with IDEA was the birdhouse kit initiative that IDEA students created from our urban lumber, for use at our Arbor Day Festival,” Eutsler said. “The event featured many excellent offerings, including tree climbing and a live go-go band, but building a birdhouse was by far the most popular activity.”
The lumber provided to IDEA has come primarily from Wards 4 and 8, but DDOT Urban Forestry sources wood from all eight DC Wards.
“The door of our garden shed was built from Ward 4 wood,” said IDEA carpentry teacher Ian Milne. “It’s good for our students to know where the wood they’re using comes from so they can see the whole process of a building project.”