Herkimer BOCES Conservation student cuts a tree with a chainsaw

When high winds knocked over a large tree on Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES property, staff members didn’t have to look far to find people capable of responding to the problem.

They turned to students.

Students in the Herkimer BOCES Conservation program and Heavy Equipment Repair Operations program cut up the tree, raked and carried debris and hauled the pieces to another part of the BOCES property.

The fallen tree provided an opportunity for students to do some meaningful work right outside their school, Herkimer BOCES Conservation instructor William Carpenter said.

“It shows them that the skills they’ve been learning can be put to good use in a real-life situation,” Carpenter said.

After the tree fell in the afternoon of Monday, March 11, outside the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex in East Herkimer, the tree was partially blocking a walkway, so students responded and cleared that out right away, Carpenter said. Then, on Tuesday, March 12, the Conservation and Heavy Equipment Repair Operations students went to work on the rest of the tree.

Students in the Heavy Equipment Repair Operations program, or HERO for short, also helped repair the parking lot at the WEB Complex on Feb. 6, following a water main break on Jan. 23.

HERO instructor Jeffrey Weeks said these opportunities to do some hands-on learning and utilize their skills in a way that makes an impact right at the school are beneficial for students.

“It’s always a great chance,” Weeks said. “You experience something new every day.”

The instructors also said students benefited from being able to team up with students from the other program.

It’s similar to how on a job you would have to collaborate with people from other companies or municipal departments, Weeks said.

“You always have to work with different people – whether you know them or you don’t,” he said.

Carpenter agreed and said these types of situations highlight the importance of using your communication skills and quickly developing hand signals as you work with others.

“When you get out into the real world, you’ve got to work with other people – including people that you have never met before,” he said.


Photos below are of students in the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Conservation program and Heavy Equipment Repair Operations program cutting up a tree, raking and carrying debris and hauling away the pieces on Tuesday, March 12, outside the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex in East Herkimer:

Student cutting tree with chainsawA large tree on BOCES property with students working on clearing it outStudents carrying away part of a treeStudent carrying pieces of a treeStudents hauling away pieces of a treeStudents working on cutting up and clearing out a treePutting tree debris on a skid steerStudent cutting up a tree with a chainsawStudent cutting tree with a chainsaw as instructor looks on

Photos below are from the Herkimer BOCES security camera showing the full tree after it fell, before students started clearing it away:

Security camera screenshot of fallen tree on BOCES propertyAnother security camera screenshot of fallen tree on BOCES property