EDUCATION

Forests as a Lens for Environmental Education

SFI CONNECTS YOUTH TO FORESTS THROUGH EDUCATION

Middle School kids build nest boxes using wood certified to the SFI Standard. Photos by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Fostering an appreciation and understanding of the natural world is critical to healthy mental and physical development in youth. But today’s American and Canadian kids spend more time indoors than previous generations.

That’s why a key component of SFI’s community engagement is educating youth, to ensure they can be effective future leaders and have a strong understanding of the value of responsibly managed forests.

PROJECT LEARNING TREE AND SFI: A NATURAL FIT

In 2017, PLT became an initiative of SFI. SFI has a deep commitment to youth, education and community engagement. This relationship offers an exciting opportunity to combine our considerable networks and expand our efforts to get youth outdoors and into forests in ways that inspire them to become environmental stewards and future forest leaders, and to introduce them to green careers.

SFI is committed to continuing PLT’s work as a high-quality education program. Together, we are helping youth understand and appreciate the value of well-managed forests and their important environmental benefits, such as cleaning our air and water. We do this by teaching youth how to think, not what to think, about forests and other complex environmental issues through hands-on, minds-on activities that develop students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM SFI YOUTH PROGRAM PARTNERS

Boy Scouts of America and SFI have a memorandum of mutual support agreeing to work together to demonstrate forest stewardship and environmental education for America’s youth.

SFI sponsored a conference for Project Learning Tree coordinators and educators to help create an environmental education model to roll out across the U.S.

SFI supports the Walk in the Forest Program, from South Dakota Project Learning Tree. It uses community forests, local volunteers and resource professionals to provide a forest field day at or near local schools.

Funding from SFI helps the Earth Rangers School Assembly Program offer a curriculum-linked assembly presentation, for grades 1 to 6, that uses science-based information to educate students about the importance of conserving biodiversity across Canada.

The Marten Monitoring and Youth Knowledge Transfer Program, led by the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi in Quebec, is evaluating the impact of wildlife management guidelines on marten populations and transferring knowledge to Cree youth. Indigenous youth programs are a special SFI focus.

Scouts Canada and SFI use education and demonstration activities to help youth learn about sustainable forestry, environmental conservation and how to use natural resources wisely.

SFI YOUTH PROGRAM PARTNERS