Getting Georgia Kids Reading and Learning about Forests

The Forever Tree
Why this project matters
Currently, two-thirds of Georgia’s third graders are not reading at grade level. Georgia’s working forests cover two-thirds of the state. This initiative, in partnership with the Governor’s Office and the Get Georgia Reading campaign seeks to connect children to forests by helping them learn to read.
Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal launched her Read Across Georgia initiative in support of Governor Nathan Deal’s goal of increasing the percentage of children reading at grade level by the end of third grade. The governor proclaimed March Read Across Georgia month to support this initiative.
Why is SFI involved?
The Georgia Forestry Foundation will leverage statewide partnerships, including the Georgia SFI Implementation Committee, to provide hands-on classroom activities teaching children about the importance of trees, through use of a book entitled The Forever Tree. The Georgia Forestry Foundation will use the book to enhance collaboration with Project Learning Tree (PLT), donate copies of the book to every elementary school in the state and all 401 public community libraries as well as including the book in afterschool programs with local community organizations.
This book also lends itself to serving as an icebreaker to engage more teachers and schools regarding the opportunities within PLT, an SFI program. PLT 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.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
The fact that two-thirds of Georgia’s third-graders are not reading on grade level, brings long-term negative consequences to these children, their families, their communities, and the state. Unwilling to ignore the challenge of illiteracy in Georgia, hundreds of public and private leaders from across the state and across sectors have come together to take on third-grade reading as an urgent priority for all who care about children’s health and well-being. Together, they developed an agenda outlining the conditions necessary for every child in Georgia to become a proficient reader by the end of third grade, paving the way to improved outcomes throughout school and life.
This partnership includes educators and volunteers.
  • Project lead: Georgia Forestry Foundation
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Get Georgia Reading
>Related information
  • 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.
  • SFI connects youth to forests through education (project highlights).
About the Georgia Forestry Foundation
The Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF), established in 1990, is a 501 (c) (3) organization that acts as the educational arm of the Georgia Forestry Association. Their mission is to sustain Georgia’s forests through funding and support of leadership development, policy studies and education to enhance the economic, environmental and community value of working forests for Georgia. The Foundation has three pillars – Leadership; Policy Studies and Education. They work to develop leaders within the forestry community to be confident advocates at the government, business and community levels. They provide analysis and information that informs policy favorable to Georgia’s working forests, and develop educational experiences with a statewide focus that reach multiple target audiences.