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Even the kids study forestry.

EVEN THE KIDS STUDY FORESTRY

You don't cut trees, you save them," says Norberto Coronado Andino, a fifth-grader from Chaguite Grande, Honduras. "We need them to earn money, for the fresh air, and because there would be no water without them."

Norberto is among the thousands of children and adults who have benefited from the Honduran National School of Forestry Science (ESNACIFOR). Founded in 1969 with a grant from the United Nations, the college is located in the town of Siguatepeque, about 80 miles northwest of the Honduran capital. The school has become such a national institution that it is portrayed on one of the denominations of Honduran money.

The college's unique value lies in its impact on villages like Norberto's. In Chaquite Grande, trees are now felled under a careful management plan, and the land is aggressively reforested.

The value of sound conservation, agriculture, and nutrition are stressed from an early age. Two years ago, an ESNACIFOR student intern taught the children of Chaguite Grande how to sow vegetables on the slope below their school and plant 5,000 pine seedlings in the surrounding woods.

Ruben Guevarra, director of ESNACIFOR, says the institute, originally designed to train forest rangers, now teaches a wide range of environmentally and agriculturally oriented skills. Its forestry graduates spend three years learning both the practical training of a ranger and the skills to help people farm, build a sawmill, or grade and sell timber.

In Honduras 30 percent of the population are forest dwellers. They are among the poorest people in that Central American country, so a forest industry is needed that can help them boost their incomes. At the same time, they need help seeing the reasons for conserving forest resources so those resources will last for years to come.

Extension agents trained at ESNACIFOR are now assisting some 80,000 farmers who live in and near the forests. In addition to help with tying agriculture in with forestry, the farmers are receiving training in fighting forest fires.

Another program of the school helps poor forest workers obtain loans so they can become owners or members of cooperatives managing small forest-based businesses.

The National School of Forestry Science currently has 72 full-time students enrolled and trains 1,500 forest-related workers. The campus has grown from what Ruben Guevara calls "an ugly little outfit" to spacious grounds with 25 buildings.

According to Guevarra, the lasting value of the school will be measured by the long-lasting change that can be made in communities like Chaguite Grande and in the lives of villagers like Norberto Coronado Andino.
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Title Annotation:Honduras
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:column
Date:May 1, 1990
Words:431
Previous Article:The timber industry takes its show on the road.
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