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On a hot August day in the northern Bearlodge, 16 students from the Boxelder Job Corps Center carried rails, 2 by 2, placing them in line to be installed as a new buck and rail fence.

Divided into two groups, Forest Service personnel instructed and showed the young adults how to place the posts, drill holes for the rails and nail the fence together.

“They are learning very fast. They have been able to take off on their own and do the job,” said Rick Fairfield, Boxelder Job Corps Facility Maintenance.

Students from the Boxelder Job Corps have been working with the Black Hills National Forest on several natural and cultural resource conservation projects this summer.

This day, they are learning how to build a buck and rail fence for meadow enhancement and resource conservation.

I’ve never done buck and rail fencing or any fencing,” said Bridget Van’t Ohf, Boxelder Job Corps Carpentry Student. “So all of it is a new learning skill.”

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Among fence building this summer, the students have also helped install two pack horse gates which are designed to allow the passage of pack horses wearing panniers. They have brushed back overgrown vegetation on the Cliff Swallow Trail 91, Dugout Gulch Trail 77 and off of the Warren Peak Highway. They have also assisted with hauling gravel to repair trail damage on the Northern Hills Ranger District and had the opportunity to visit and learn about the Cook Lake spillway reconstruction project.

“I greatly appreciate these students who have helped the District accomplish projects quickly and efficiently,” said Mike Gosse, Bearlodge District Ranger. “Thank you for your hard work and great effort.”

“The students are not only learning job skills, but they are also learning how to communicate and work as a team,” said Fairfield.

The Boxelder Job Corps Center, located near Nemo, SD, works with eligible young adults ages 16-24 to further education, build skills and job training. Students can earn their high school diploma and learn various trades including carpentry, welding, culinary and nursing assistant.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

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