Forestry Education Initiative
Why this project matters
Getting kids into the outdoors and teaching them hands-on science so they can think critically and solve problems collaboratively is one of the most important things we can do for today’s youth. This project involves two interrelated and complementary forestry education programs: Classrooms Unleashed and Next Generation Science Standards/Project Learning Tree Boot Camp. These programs focus on improving access to high quality science education and fostering natural resource stewardship. Project Learning Tree, an SFI program, is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.
Classrooms Unleashed employs classroom and outdoor exploration of natural systems as a framework for critical thinking and problem solving. The program applies concepts from the formal classroom environment, directly engaging and educating youth, and the informal, outdoor classroom through a hands-on, experiential model to interact with the natural world.
The Next Generation Science Standards/Project Learning Tree Boot Camp will directly expand audiences for Project Learning Tree (PLT), which will effectively reach more students in environmental, science education. In addition, the boot camp increases the effectiveness of the PLT program because teachers are immersed in learning for the weekend.
Why is SFI involved?
One of SFI’s priorities is to connect youth to forests through education. We look for ways to instill a lifelong appreciation for the value forests represent for biodiversity, the wider environment, sustainable communities, responsibly sourced forest products and for our shared quality of life. The educational focus of this project also supports SFI’s focus on encouraging the next generation of future forest leaders.
SFI is also committed to engaging with and supporting underserved communities through educational initiatives. This commitment is shared by the project lead Sierra Nevada Journeys. As its programs continue to grow, they are committed to increasing community-wide accessibility. Fueled by the generous support of its donors, more than 55% of the children Sierra Nevada Journeys served in 2016 came from low-income households.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
At SFI, we are also keen to collaborate further with Sierra Nevada Journeys to develop program models and share them with the full PLT network in innovative ways to grow the capacity of our network. To broaden its impact, Sierra Nevada Journeys has expanded program offerings across grades 1-6 and expanded its programs to serve the demand from a range of communities. They are now serving more than 20,000 students annually. Its programs also engage families to reinforce classroom concepts through Family Science/STEM Nights.
The program also features cooperation with the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program and the Desert Research Institute. The Northwest Regional Professional Development is committed to elevating student performance by providing sustained professional learning and building regional partnerships. The Desert Research Institute is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet.
This partnership includes educators and researchers.
- Project lead: Sierra Nevada Journeys
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Project Learning Tree
- Northwest Regional Professional Development Program
- Desert Research Institute
- SFI connects youth to forests through education (project highlights).
- Project Learning Tree, an SFI program, is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12.