As someone who loves the forest and the sea, I’ve spent a lot of time considering both.
Given how different they are, it’s interesting to note how important these natural ecosystems are to Oregon, environmentally, economically and socially.
Forests and the ocean are major carbon sinks that play a crucial role in combating the effects of climate change.
Both forests and the ocean have an associated industry—forestry and fisheries—that provides jobs and other economic benefits to Oregon communities, especially rural ones.
Forests and the ocean are places where Oregonians and visitors to the state take part in an array of recreational activities, including fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, swimming and camping.
And because of the importance of forests and the ocean to Oregon, it is important that K-12 students learn about both.
As a way of educating Oregon students about the significance and connections between these two natural resources, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport for new interpretive signage informing aquarium visitors about Oregon’s coastal forests, sustainable forest management, and the importance of forest and ocean ecosystems.
The signage will narrate the progression of a raindrop from the forest to the sea while highlighting sustainable forest management practices, and will serve as the basis for expanding the curriculum for the aquarium’s on-site, online and outreach education programs to include lessons on Oregon’s forests.
These programs typically reach more than 525,000 people annually, with PreK-12 students making up over half that number. This audience will offer OFRI a unique partnership opportunity to highlight forest management and sustainability messages for school groups. My hope is that this will help Oregon students better understand and appreciate the many environmental, economic and social benefits of the state’s forested and coastal environments.
Director of K-12 Education Programs