Fresno’s ACEL Charter School in California Forestry Challenge

Fresno, Ca. (October 12, 2014)

Students from the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACEL) took first place in the Pacing Competition at the California Forestry Challenge. Students engaged in rigorous training by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) in the Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest (MHDSF), above 6,000′ elevation in the Sierra Nevada in Tulare County.

The ACEL students were amazed to experience the rugged forest surrounding the Giant Sequoias and to learn forestry practices from CalFire leaders. Martin Herrera, a freshman at ACEL, said, “It’s fun to see the rangers cut a tree and work in the forest. It’s so quiet and peaceful here. I want to stay.”

After three days of training, collecting data and two field trips in the forest, teams from three schools had to present a prescription for regenerating Giant Sequoias in MHDSF. All teams in the competition were praised by CalFire leaders for their understanding of forestry principles and practices and the quality of their presentations.

The California Forestry Challenge is a competitive event for high school students in current forestry issues. (

Instruction at the Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership (ACEL) emphasizes the real-world relevance of academic knowledge and skills, through service projects to improve the community. This project-based learning led to ACEL being awarded the Civic Learning Award of Distinction by the CA Department of Education.

The Academy for Civic and Entrepreneurial Leadership is a free public charter high school in downtown Fresno ( ACEL Charter High School is beginning its 7th year as a charter high school, serving students who seek an alternative to traditional education, preventing many dropouts.

We have parent-signed media release statements for all students in photos.

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