WENATCHEE VALLEY MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER
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
- 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.