The importance of getting students into the woods
05.26.2021

Forestry education is engaging, relevant and important for Oregon students. Knowing this, Forests Today & Forever has provided programs since 1994 that help to educate students and the public about Oregon’s forests to achieve our mission of promoting forest stewardship through education.

In a typical year, we bring about 2,500 students to the woods. For many of these students, it is the first time they have walked a forest trail, breathed the fresh forest air and experienced a day away from electronics. Our field-based forestry education programs, which are supported by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute through bus transportation reimbursements, give students an opportunity to connect with the forest though direct experience. Students learn about and see firsthand the abundant resources that forests provide, from recreational opportunities to clean water to wildlife habitat to the wood products that they use every day in their homes and at school

The teachers we work with are excited about getting students outside and into nature, and they are enthusiastic about teaching about forestry. Forests Today & Forever is based in Eugene, and the 2,500 students who participate in our programs annually come from 18 local schools in 11 districts, most of which participate year after year with new classes of students.

From our perspective, what’s not to love about our programs? After all, there are many good reasons to include forestry education in schools. Here are a few that might encourage more teachers to take advantage of our program and the many other forestry education program offerings in Oregon:

·         Forestry education is place-based. Forestry is central to Oregon's history, culture and economy, and educating about forestry is a comprehensive approach to help students develop a sense of place and understanding about their local community.

 

·         Forestry education is multidisciplinary, spanning several subject areas, including science, mathematics and history. It is easily integrated into these subjects to provide a learning experience that matches the complexities of real life.

 

·         Forestry education achieves the goals of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, helping students develop skills in these important subjects that can be applied in school and the real world.

 

·         Forestry education is career education. It highlights a variety of career and job opportunities in forest-related fields that students might not otherwise learn about. Many of these jobs are in-demand, high-paying and accessible to students directly after high school graduation.

As we emerge from the pandemic, our Forests Today & Forever field programs are coming back into session, along with those offered by other forestry education organizations across Oregon. We are excited to welcome students back to the woods and to support teachers in meeting their teaching and learning objectives with our forestry education offerings.

Beth Krisko

Director

Forests Today & Forever

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