Morgan Erickson, a freshman at Pierce High School, did an outstanding job making a case for “How RCDs can help landowners protect against wildfires”. She clearly outlined action steps for RCDs such as educating the public on fire prevention practices and helping landowners create defensible space around their homes. Morgan brought up a real-life scenario of how the Colusa County RCD helped inholders in the Mendicino National Forest with hazardous fuel reduction on their land. She described in the recent Ranch Fire flames went from 300 to thirty feet once the fire moved into the area where fuel reduction work had been done.
Erickson referred to the Upper Stony Inholder’s Alliance Fuels Treatment project which the CCRCD facilitated using funds from Title III and the 2002 National Fire Plan- Community Protection Program grant award. The project included: thinning for fuel reduction, shaded fuel breaks, thinning for forest health, and infrastructure protection.
The speak off contest requires contestants to memorize a three to five-minute speech. Judges base the speech on a number of criteria ranging from an engaging hook, relevant and clear content, ease and fluidity of speech and a thoughtful and meaningful conclusion. This was Morgan’s first time presenting and coming in first at the local level and then runner-up at regionals illuminates her innate gift for public speaking. Associate Director and former Pierce High School Ag teacher, George Green, coached Morgan in preparation for the Sacramento Valley RCD Regional Speak- Off contest and encouraged her to keep developing her gift.