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Outdoor opportunities abundant for HFM Environmental Conservation students

October 16, 2020 | Filed in HFM Career & Technical Education, HFM Top Stories

Stressing career preparation in the fields of forestry/lumber production, heavy equipment operation and renewable resources, the HFM Career and Technical Center’s Environmental Conservation program takes full advantage of the center’s outdoor facilities.Students stand by a pond as an instructor add fish from a bucket

Most recently, students majoring in Heavy Equipment were busy constructing a pond behind the center on land owned by Fulton-Montgomery Community College. In October, seniors began stocking the pond for the first time with crayfish and channel catfish, which they raised themselves in indoor tanks.

As part of the program’s ongoing aquaculture studies, students plan to raise and stock native perch and bass, and heavy equipment students will expand the pond in the next few years providing another educational resources for students for years to come.  

During the two-year Environmental Conservation program, students spend their junior year learning the basics of operating HFM’s fleet of bulldozers, excavators, loaders, trucks and other heavy equipment and learn to operate power tools, saws, welders, mowers and other equipment.

By their senior year, students select from one of three majors and begin concentrating on either forestry and lumber production, heavy equipment operation or renewable resources.

A students operates a loaderForestry/lumber majors learn to operate chainsaws to fell trees, buck up lumber and limb trees. They learn and operate the program’s band saw mill and edger to produce graded lumber that is used primarily on campus. They also spend time in the woods on campus studying silvaculture, wildlife and fauna. 

Heavy Equipment students learn to operate a variety of heavy equipment and may complete the first two classroom years of the four-year apprenticeship program required to become a journeyman operator.

As Renewable Resource majors, students participate in a variety of classroom and lab studies focused on renewable resources including aquaculture, hydroponics, aquaponics, PV and wind power generation, and biodiesel production and more.

The HFM Environmental Conservation program is open to high school juniors and seniors in the HFM area. To learn more about the program visit:

A student cuts a log with a chainsaw as an instructor and another student look on.