Washington Kids Gain Valuable Wildfire Knowledge

Kids in the Forest
Why this project matters
The Kids in the Forest Project will provide teacher training, classroom workshops and forest field experiences for third to eighth graders to learn about forest and wildfire ecology to understand what healthy and unhealthy forests look like and how wildfire and forest management play an important role in maintaining healthy watersheds.
Our kids’ contact with nature also keeps shrinking. Today’s emphasis on screen time and indoor play is also linked to psychological and physical effects like obesity, loneliness, depression and attention problems. Getting kids into forests and helping them learn about sustainability is good for forests and good for kids.
Why is SFI involved?
Kids in the Forest will focus on enriching the link between people and forests. By creating baseline knowledge, students will learn to talk about forest management and wildfire at home and in their community in a way that supports sustainable approaches to land management.
Critical to the success of the program is integrating project partners into the field experience to provide students an opportunity to connect with professionals in the resource management field and ask questions about their jobs and how they got to where they are. Early exposure to natural resource management as a fun, exciting, and realistic career path will help to keep forest management and stewardship of public lands a valued career path in future generations.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
While the primary goal of Kids in the Forest is to increase youth understanding of basic wildfire ecology and forest management, additional benefits are created by encouraging students to share their learning with their families and communities. Students will be asked to take what they have learned and apply it in exercises at home like creating an evacuation plan with their family.
The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center will work with the Washington State SFI Implementation Committee to involve SFI Program Participants and certified forests lands in the project. SFI will work with the lead organization by suggesting appropriate Project Learning Tree (PLT) curriculum and materials for the project, as opposed to developing new curriculum. PLT is an SFI program. SFI and PLT will also work closely with the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center to incorporate and offer PLT facilitator training opportunities, providing SFI programs with additional reach and relevance.
This partnership includes:
  • Project lead: Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Washington State SFI Implementation Committee
  • Cascadia Conservation District
  • Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center
  • North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative
  • The Wildfire Project
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).
  • Northwest Natural Resources Institute ran an annual K-12 Natural Resources Teacher Workshop in Spokane, WA. A portion of the workshop was dedicated to informing teachers about the care and attention forestry professionals give to being good stewards of forestlands.
About the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center
The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center inspires dynamic connections to its region’s unique heritage. Through creative programs, exhibits and publications, it tells the stories of the people who have built the community. The Museum strives to foster an appreciation for the preservation and celebration of its collective community memory. The Museum is proud to share a variety of exhibits interpreting life in the Valley of the Mid-Columbia dating back to the ice age. From 11,500-year-old Clovis points discovered in an East Wenatchee orchard through to trade goods used by Native Americans in centuries past to household articles used in Wenatchee homes around 1900, the past comes alive at the Wenatchee Valley Museum. More recent history is highlighted as well, including the landing in Wenatchee of the world’s first trans-Pacific flight in 1931.