First graders learn about one of the PNW’s biggest industries from field expert


First graders at North Fork Elementary School in Woodland recently spent time learning about the logging industry from an expert in the field.

Jim Morris, owner of Morris Trucking NW and father of Kimberly Miller, a first grade teacher at the school, visited his daughter’s classroom to teach local students about logging, how it works and the importance lumber plays in different industries. 

According to a news release from the district, Morris gives the presentation annually, but this year he made a video lesson to share with students as pandemic restrictions currently prohibit visitors in classrooms.

“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,” Miller said in the release. “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.”

To conduct the lesson, Morris walked students through the uses of lumber, gave them a tour of his logging truck and showed the students how the log grappler operates and lifts heavy logs onto the back of the truck. He also showed the student the equipment on the semi truck, including the horn, gauges and more. 

“We typically have evergreen trees which are used for houses whereas hardwood trees like maple are used to make paper and cardboard products,” Morris said to the students while teaching them about the trees he hauls. 

Students also learned how the lumber industry developed reforestation techniques to ensure the industry can operate sustainably by replacing cut down trees with new ones each year. 

Miller came up with the idea of having her dad visit class because he had done it for her while 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.” 

Miller schedules the visit to connect with lessons on 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 Miller’s students, the 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,” Miller said. “I also enjoy hearing my students make connections with my dad’s job and their own family or community.”


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