A couple of months ago the lovely lady named Deanne Clough responded to the our Engineering’s class need for materials. She owns Clough Construction in San Rafael with her husband. They gladly donated used redwood from fence demolitions to the class. We were able to the build the fence around the school garden with the help from Clough workers, and the past two weeks we have been making the gate for the garden, plus five new planter boxes. Deanne continues to be a rock star. She has provided us with loads of wood and was able to book our class a field trip to Mendocino Redwood in Ukiah, which is rare. Deanne purchases all of her lumber from Mendocino Redwood because the lumber company truthfully carries out sustainable practices.

Mendocino Redwood manages their forests for the future. Meaning, they protect old growth trees and wildlife, support local communities, and do not use clear-cut harvesting methods (prevent deforestation). In addition, Mendocino grows more than they harvest because for every tree they cut down they plant 7 more trees. The forest inhabits 17 species of animals and hundreds of plant species; therefore, the workers survey and protect the wildlife and rare plant species. In addition, they are FSC certified. FSC or Forest Stewardship Council is “an international organization that promotes responsible forestry, [and] certifies forest management entities that meet their high standards of forestry operations, environment stewardship, and social responsibilities.” In other words, the FSC “certifies and promotes responsibility and management of forests around the world.

The MSEL Juniors were fortunate to have the special opportunity to tour Mendocino Redwood last Friday. Accompanied by our MSEL teachers (Jesse Madsen and Allison Oropallo), Deanne and Scott Clough, and several parent chaperones, we toured the facilities and it was an epic experience. We witnessed massive logs processed into stacks of lumber in just under a minute per log. Don’t believe me? Let me humor you with some, almost, unbelievable facts. The planer speed volume is 550-1100 feet per minute and the logs fed per hour is about 400. As a result, the facility processes 90 million board feet of lumber output per year. Still don’t believe me? Google it.

After the facility tour, we piled into three vans and headed out into the forest. The workers were taking us to a lookout point to eat lunch and further share their knowledge of their harvesting practices and the forest.  Unfortunately, it was a foggy day so we were not able to see the breathtaking view of the pristine forest, plus it was raining so we did not take the scheduled hike. Instead, the workers drove us to see the creek restoration on the property, the bridge made out of recycle train cars (how cool is that?!), and the world’s third oldest tree. We were able to walk through the base of the tree!

All in all, it was an amazing experience that we will never forget. They day was filled with laughs, learning opportunities, and fun road trip games. And I don’t know about my classmates, but I was like a kid in a candy store touring the facility. I love watching the TV show How It’s Made, and now, I witnessed first hand logs turning into lumber. This once in a lifetime opportunity is an experience I will cherish forever.

I would like to take the moment to thank some very important people, who without them this field would not be able to happen. Thank you Deanne Clough for providing us with the rare opportunity and sponsoring the MSEL Engineering class! Thank you to the parent chaperons for driving the long distance and putting up with our shenanigans and loud, obnoxious car behavior! On behalf of my classmates, I would like to apologize, especially to Angelita, who had the loudest car. Hope your ears are okay! Thank you Mendocino Redwood workers for taking time out of your day to give us an amazing tour of your facility and filling our young ears with knowledge! Thank you Trevor Henley for photographing the field trip and spreading laughter with your jokes! Thank you Jesse Madsen and Allison Oropallo for planning the trip from the school side and driving! I am probably missing some people but do not worry, the MSEL juniors are very grateful for your contributions too! And shout out to Kevin, the world’s best driver! You’re the best!

Now, I leave you with a joke:

            Q: Why was the cat afraid of the tree?

A: Because of its bark

*Disclaimer: All facts used were obtained from the field trip and the tour guide pamphlet.


  1. Kiera! Thanks for the great blog and pictures! I enjoyed looking at them, especially Ms. O’s selfie 🙂 I am very thankful that we got to go on this trip! I learned a lot, and I am glad you documented it nicely!

  2. Wow you remembered a lot more facts about Mendicino Redwood Company then I did! And going to the mill was exactly like being up close in How its Made! Now we can all say that we know how companies harvest, cut, transport, and package all the lumber they make! Your blog captured just how amazing this field trip and opportunity was!

  3. So many cute pictures and memories! I loved this field trip so much. I am so thankful that this was coordinated for us, because I know it took a lot of work! Great job making it interesting and summing it up Kiera! Nice joke too.

  4. Wow you included so many pictures! Awesome blog! I liked how you started from the very beginning of how we got in contact with Deanne and explained everything that has happened since then!

  5. Great blog Kiera! I liked how you went into such great detail about what we did during the field trip. I also liked how you incorporated thank yous in there. Also, it was really funny! Fantastic blog! 🙂

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