What is forest literacy? By its nature, it’s a moving target.
If literacy is defined as competence or knowledge in a specified area – in this case, forests – then time changes what we know. That means it’s not enough to write a plan for forest literacy; it has to be updated regularly to be kept current and relevant.
More than 10 years ago, the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) brought together a diverse group of teachers, nonformal educators and natural resource professionals to create the Oregon Forest Literacy Plan (OFLP). It identified what every Oregon student should know about the state’s forests by the end of high school. Six years ago, a similarly diverse statewide group updated the OFLP.
OFRI is in the process of updating the Oregon Forest Literacy Plan once again. In November we convened a group of educators and natural resource professionals to review and revise the concepts presented in the plan, so it can appropriately address current approaches, issues and challenges related to our forests.
We asked this group to identify and consider the most important changes of the past five years in the fields of forestry and education. They came up with a list that included the intensity and impact of wildfire, carbon and climate change, and increased awareness of the role of indigenous people and traditional ecological knowledge in forestry. We compiled their ideas and developed an updated version of the OFLP concepts. In January we distributed the draft concepts to a larger group of education and forestry experts, and then revised the draft concepts based on their review.
At this stage in the revision process, we invite public comments on the draft concepts. Public review such as this is an important component of OFRI’s commitment to transparency and accountability, and we hope you’ll participate.
To view the draft concepts, please go to OregonForests.org/public-review.
If you’d like to provide feedback on the draft concepts, please submit your comments via the online survey you’ll find at that same link. As an alternative to the online survey, you can also email comments to [email protected] or mail comments to:
c/o Oregon Forest Resources Institute
9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210
Portland, OR 97225
All comments must be received via the survey, email or mail by 5 p.m. on April 1. Note that all comments will be reviewed and considered, and a synopsis will be made publically available on OFRI’s website.
After finalizing the concepts based on the public feedback we receive, we’ll design and print the plan and distribute it with the help of our K-12 education and forestry partners. Print copies of the updated plan will also be available to order for free or download from our main website, OregonForests.org, or our K-12 forest education website, LearnForests.org.
Director of K-12 Education Programs