MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — State forest service officials believe it’s never too early to learn about the importance of trees.

Forestry isn’t a well-known profession, and officials say there are a lot of misconceptions about the work they do. That’s why Forestry Site Manager Danny Duce taught students at Malone School about forestry practices.

“It has to be managed properly. If it’s not properly managed, it will deteriorate over time,” said Duce. “We think it’s important to teach young people to be good stewards of the land and to be able to make good decisions in the things that they do.”

A common misconception students learn about is that it’s bad to cut down trees. Sometimes foresters have to cut them down to give other trees room to grow or to eradicate diseases. People rely on trees more than they think. They help produce paper products, crayons, and even cell phones. 

“It plays an important role not only in the production of products that we all use every day, but also in the clean air that we breathe every day, the habitat for the wildlife that we all enjoy, and the recreational standpoint of hiking or biking or riding motorcycles or whatever you want to do in the woods.”

Kids also learned forestry offers many job opportunities. From planting trees by hand or with heavy machinery to financing farms and rural land, forestry may be a career kids would want to pursue one day. 

“Maybe you have somebody that wants to be in forestry and learn how to manage a piece of property, or maybe you have a child that would be more of a trades-type student or career person,” said Farm Credit Lending Director Emily Lowe. “Maybe they want to operate a piece of heavy equipment, all of those things are needed.”

Duce says wildfires have burned a lot of the trees that were destroyed during Hurricane Michael, making them less of a threat than they were previously.