In 2008, after decades of intense wildland fire activity threatened the community, the village of Tok undertook a major effort to thin the stands of black spruce surrounding its buildings, starting with the area around the school. The school obtained a state grant and purchased a biomass boiler to convert the trees into heat. Within five years, the school district saved enough money on electricity and heating costs to hire local people to thin trees and train to become firefighters.
As the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner has reported, biomass now also heats a commercial greenhouse growing vegetables to feed the school’s students, and the school has been able to hire a music teacher and a counselor. The greenhouse continues to be used as a learning laboratory for biological science, indoor agricultural practices and nutrition.
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