Philomath High School senior Caleb Jensen has a competitive streak that permeates several aspects of his young life. Many in the community may know him from his accomplishments in athletics — quarterback on the football team among his activities.
But coming up on May 30 at Hopkins Memorial Tree Farm near Oregon City, Jensen will be among those showcasing various outdoors skills at the state forestry competition. In addition, he’ll be among the students giving an academic presentation.
“We have a good group of kids going to that,” said Jensen about the event, which is the second and last of such competitions this spring. “I’m doing power buck, choker set, cross-cut, cable splicing and a couple of other things as well as tree ID, wildlife ID and I’m doing a speech on the process of tree-planting and setting up tree plots.”
The 18-year-old son of Eric and Chris Jensen, he is April’s PHS Forestry Student of the Month sponsored by Starker Forests.
Jensen has been in the Philomath school system for the entire run of his K-12 education. He doesn’t have any significant family influence as far as developing an interest in forestry other than his mother studying agriculture for a couple of years during her college years, adding, “Other than that, I just fell in love with being outside.”
“I’ve always liked working with my hands and this class gave me that opportunity,” Jensen added. “And it’s not your traditional in-person class, which I find breaks up the daily really good.”
Jensen said his favorite part of the forestry program “is just being out in the woods and getting jobs done and now that I’m in the advanced classes … over the first two periods of the day, I’m out in the woods just getting stuff done.”
Now that he only has a few weeks of high school remaining, Jensen is looking forward to the next phase of life, which he said will likely include enrollment in a trade school.
“Out of high school, I’m going to go to work and I have a couple of different options to choose from,” Jensen said. “And then it’s just figuring out what I want to do — most likely a trade school. I have a couple of trades in mind … it’s just deciding which one I want to go with.”