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Two dozen primary school students gather around an instructor and a small fire.
Information icon Describing the benefits of prescribed fire. Photo by Durwin Carter, USFWS.

Wood Magic happens at Sewee Visitor Center

Have you ever wondered how paper is made from trees? Do you know why it’s important to recycle paper? Do you know that when a log is cut at the saw mill everything is used to make different wood products? Why do foresters use prescribed burning for forested areas? What are some gifts from the forest?

Just ask South Carolina a fifth graders who attended the Wood Magic Forest Fair at the the Service’s Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center in Awendaw, South Carolina in November. These students can answer these questions and more about the magic of trees, one of our most valuable renewable resources.

For four days of wood magic, 467 fifth graders and 30 teachers were totally engaged in interactive programs that included Makin’ Paper, Good Fire & Bad Fire, Sawmill, and Gifts of the Forest. By the end of each day, the students had gained an understanding of renewable and non-renewable natural resources and they could identify different management techniques that are necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of our forests. They walked away knowing the many environmental, social and economic benefits of our forests in their daily lives. They knew that for every tree harvested in South Carolina, five trees are planted.

The Sewee Center was the host site for the fair, an annual event which is sponsored by the South Carolina Forestry Commission. More than 60 program instructors, guides and the lunch team were staff members and volunteers from Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Francis Marion National Forest, Clemson Extension, International Paper, Kapstone Paper, Milliken Forestry, Hobcaw Barony, Canfor Southern Pine, Georgetown Technical College, Interfor, and the Forestry Association of South Carolina.

In the 18 years since the fair began began in 1999, more than 34,000 students and teachers from across South Carolina have participated in the event at various education facilities in the state. Wood Magic Forest Fair is coordinated by the South Carolina Forestry Commission and financed through donations and grants.

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