McDowell County Ranger Chris Davis spoke to sixth-graders at West McDowell Middle this week on the importance of forest management.

Davis is one of two people who work in McDowell County as part of the North Carolina Forest Service. His job entails land management for private land owners, fire control, water quality and inspection of all logging areas, among other areas.

“We get to be outside a lot,” Davis told the students.

Susan Higdon’s science classes had just finished up a lesson on the importance of soil, and Davis was invited in to speak to students about different aspects of soil in the environment.

“Mr. Davis is currently the only ranger in McDowell County, and I feel honored for him to take time out of his busy schedule to do a presentation,” said Higdon. “The kids have been exploring different aspects of the soil in my classroom, and this will tie together what the children have learned and give them a better first-hand perspective.”

Davis pulled up a Power Point presentation for students to follow along with and take notes. He talked about how a forest starts and how humans and animals impact different cycles.

“What is forest life?” Davis asked the class.

“Plants and minerals,” one student said.

“Humans can restart succession on their own,” Davis said about the life cycle of forests. “Animals need each part of the cycle to survive.”

He covered topics such as how to determine the ages and height of trees, promoting native plants in the area, and showed students how they can test soil from the ground by just feeling it in your hands, or looking it up on the Web Soil Survey website.

“People will walk across the state to collect soil samples,” Davis said to students.

For more information on the office of the North Carolina Forest Service in McDowell County, call 652-2636 or visit

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