MINEVILLE The state education department has confirmed something local residents have known for a long time the natural resource management program at Champlain Valley Tec in Mineville is one of the best. The state officially certified the program Jan. 16. All of the programs at the Mineville campus allied health, automotive technology, building trades, cosmetology, high school alternative education and natural resources management have been approved by the state education department as meeting all standards, according to Mary Dickerson, Mineville principal. The certification process takes nearly a year and includes curriculum reviews, assessments, internal reviews, external reviews and much more, Dickerson said. Its good to know others think our programs are doing well, Dickerson said. In the case of natural resources management, Dickerson gives instructor Tom Rodriguez much of the credit. Hes an institution here, said said of Rodriguez, who has been teaching in Mineville for 26 years. The natural resources management program includes classroom instruction, work-based experience and an articulation agreement with Paul Smiths College. Rodriguez said the state certification process is a good one. I find every year there are more and more demands on math and science, he said. Its important to keep up with that as well as with new technology. A lot has changed over the years. There are currently 23 students enrolled in the natural resources management program, making it one of the most popular at CV-Tec. We do a lot of work outdoors and kids seem to enjoy that, Rodriguez said. I think learning to use heavy equipment and welding are big draws, too. A lot of the kids hope to go into a construction field and this gives them good experience for that. The class is well-known in the Moriah area for its community service projects. Its done work for the town at the beach, the transfer station, the water treatment plant and on local roadways. To have Yandon Dillon (CV-Tec) located in our community is a great resource, Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. Tom Rodriguez and his students have been doing projects for the town as long as I can remember. Scozzafava pointed to the Iron Center Museum and adjacent rail display as examples. Rodriguez and his students did much of work on those projects. We have an excellent relationship with Tom and CV-Tec, Scozzafava said. The natural resources management program has changed a lot, Rodriguez said, continues to attract high-quality students. He noted 16 of this years 23 students are in Regents degree programs at their local schools. Theyre smart, hard-working kids, Rodriguez said. They keep me on my toes.