Woodland’s first graders learn about one of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest industries from an expert in the field

North Fork Elementary School students learn about the logging industry from Jim Morris, owner of Morris Trucking NW and father of Kimberly Miller, first grade teacher at North Fork

WOODLAND — First graders at Woodland Public Schools’ North Fork Elementary School learn about the logging industry from Jim Morris, owner of Morris Trucking NW and father of Kimberly Miller, first grade teacher at North Fork. 

Kim Miller's students each receive their own evergreen sapling to take home. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
Kim Miller’s students each receive their own evergreen sapling to take home. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

Each year, Morris visits his daughter’s classroom to teach students about logging, how it works, and the importance lumber plays in many different industries. Because of pandemic restrictions preventing visitors to classrooms, Morris made a video lesson to share with the students. 

“My dad has been a log truck driver in our area for more than 42 years now and my students always enjoy his classroom visits,” said Miller. “I wanted to make sure the tradition could continue so I recorded a video of my dad giving his lessons, plus each student will receive their own sapling to take home.”

Morris walked students through the uses of lumber and then gave students a tour of his logging truck including showing students how the log grappler operates to lift incredibly heavy logs onto the back of his truck. He also showed students the complexity of driving a semi-truck including the horn, gauges, and more.

Jim Morris demonstrates how the grappling system on his truck lifts heavy logs and places them on the truck's loading bed. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
Jim Morris demonstrates how the grappling system on his truck lifts heavy logs and places them on the truck’s loading bed. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

Morris also taught students about the specific types of trees he hauls, “We typically haul evergreen trees which are used for houses whereas hardwood trees like maple are used to make paper and cardboard products.” 

Students learned how the lumber industry developed reforestation techniques to ensure the industry would operate sustainably by replacing the trees that are cut down each year with new ones.   After the tour, students watched a second video showing Jim’s truck in action.

Miller came up with the idea of having her dad visit his class because he had done that very thing for her when she was attending elementary school. “I thought about what a fun experience it would be to have my dad visit and give the same lesson he gave my class when I was a student,” she said. “This is the fourth year my dad has visited my class.”

Jim Morris owns his own logging company and visits his daughter Kim Miller's first grade class each year to teach students about logging. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District
Jim Morris owns his own logging company and visits his daughter Kim Miller’s first grade class each year to teach students about logging. Photo courtesy of Woodland School District

Miller schedules the visit to connect the lesson with social studies, reading, and science. 

“During social studies, we have been focusing on community, so Woodland’s rich history in forestry helps students make a variety of connections,” she said. “We have been studying trees and their importance to the ecosystem in science and reading stories about trees, as well.”

For her students, the entire experience enriches their learning and understanding of the different subject areas. 

“The kids are so proud of their trees that they often talk about them for weeks after,” said Miller. “I also enjoy hearing my students make connections with my dad’s job and their own family or community.”

Information provided by Woodland School District.

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