Excited first graders filed into the Blountsville Elementary School cafeteria/ auditorium on Friday morning to hear a story. This wasn’t just any story or any person reading; it was Lucy Meets a Logger by Stephanie Fuller, and the person reading the book was none other than Sen. Clay Scofield (AL-9). Scofield introduced himself to the students and read the riveting story of a little girl named Lucy who meets a logger and learns all about the benefits of forestry. Lucy also learns all of the essential products that come from trees.
Along with Scofield and author Stephanie Fuller, first graders got to meet other members of the Alabama Forestry Association and speak with them individually in question and answer sessions.
Fuller posed for photos with her book and spoke with the first graders on the importance of the forestry industry. Fuller works with the Forestry Workforce Training Institute as director of promotions and economic development. Her inspiration for the book was to educate students on what a career in forestry really means.
“Traditionally,” Fuller explained, “we target grades eight and above, and what we’ve found is by the time a child reaches eighth grade, they’ve already made up their mind about what they want to be when they grow up.”
Lucy Meets a Logger allows for an earlier introduction to forestry and what a career in forestry truly means, providing essentials like toilet paper, toothpaste, pencils, paper, chewing gum, and even ice cream to the public. Anna Morgan Duke, grassroots coordinator for the Alabama Forestry Association, explained, “The reason we are doing this is to educate children on how important forestry really is and that everyone needs forestry products.
“That’s where Lucy comes in. We needed a tool to reach younger children, and that’s why Stephanie wrote the book.”
Also present for the reading were Blountsville Elementary principal Shannon Lakey and Blountsville Board of Education representative Jackie Sively. Lakey expressed her excitement for the reading.
“Any time anyone is able to come to the school and read a book to them, they just get so overwhelmed with joy,” she said. “They learn so much from a fluent reading, but to have forestry come and read a book they’ve written and talk to them about the wood industry and its importance is impressive.”
Lakey also spoke on the positive impact Sen. Scofield has had on Blountsville Elementary by enabling them to purchase resources that they would not be able to have without his help.
“We’ve redone our fencing, repaired our playground, painted the school, and are currently in the process of getting a new playground,” she said. “He’s also provided funds for new technology resources as well as building maintenance and renovations. We’re truly grateful for him.”
Jackie Sively echoed Lakey’s sentiments by expressing her excitement for the reading. “It’s an exciting morning at Blounstville Elementary! These children got to experience their state senator reading them a book, got to meet people from the Alabama Forestry Association, and learn all about all the exciting things that come from wood that they use in their daily lives.”
Each first grade class received an educational kit for their classroom, which contained a copy of Lucy Meets a Logger and many of the products mentioned in the book such as toilet paper, gum, a ruler, a paper cup, soap, toothpaste, and more. With the help of the Alabama Forestry Association, the first graders at Blountsville Elementary are off to a great start regarding lifelong learning in the field of forestry.