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Our Vision, Mission, and Values

Vision

LEAF envisions inspired and informed citizens actively engaged in sustaining healthy forests and communities.

Mission

LEAF’s mission is to integrate learning in and about Wisconsin’s forests into K-12 schools to provide the knowledge, skills, and ways of thinking necessary to sustain our forests and communities.

Values

The noted core values directly underlie the LEAF Program. They provide guidance in delivering program services and products, and directions we pursue as a program.
We desire to build a sense of shared values with our audiences as they interact with the LEAF Program.
We believe: Humans are dependent upon and connected to Earth’s systems, Forests are life support systems for life on Earth, Wisconsin’s forests can be managed sustainably for economic, ecologic, and social benefits, Forestry education is integral to K-12 learning, across all grades and subjects areas, Healthy communities are dependent upon informed and engaged citizens.

LEAF’s Integrated Approach to Forestry Education

LEAF works to fully integrate its and its partners’ services and resources to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to forestry education.

Teachers are LEAF’s primary audience. Developing teachers’ forestry literacy is an important key to expanding forestry education in schools. No single experience is going to result in their forestry literacy. LEAF strives for our programmatic areas to be interrelated components of a systems-based approach to forestry education.

As we move ahead, we foresee a greater depth and diversity of LEAF services and resources within our priority programmatic areas to accomplish this.

Have a question? Look at our frequently asked questions:

What does LEAF Stand for?

LEAF is Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program. The name was developed and words were selected to create the acronym (it’s a reverse acronym!). Those words are: Learning, Experiences, & Activities in Forestry. We just use LEAF.

Where does LEAF funding come from?

LEAF is a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education in the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point. LEAF’s primary funding comes from the state Conservation Fund – Forestry Account. This funding is allocated by the State Legislature. UW-Stevens Point provides in kind support through office space, technology support, budget management and accounting, and other services. LEAF also receives other funding through grants, contracts, and program revenue.

Why does LEAF teach about forest management?

LEAF believes:

  • Humans are dependent upon and connected to earth’s systems;
  • Forests are life support systems for life on earth;
  • WI forests can be managed sustainably for economic, ecologic and social benefits;
  • Forestry education is integral to K-12 learning, across all grades and subjects areas;
  • Healthy communities are dependent upon informed and engaged citizens.

Our education approach takes a holistic and comprehensive perspective in which forest management is included. We all use forest products. Students should understand the diverse values of Wisconsin’s forests so they can make informed decisions.

Can you identify a tree?

Maybe. We’re happy to respond to requests for tree identification. The more characteristics you can give us, the more likely we are to be able to help with identification. Key tree identification characteristics are: location in which the tree is growing (part of the world, urban/rural, wet or dry location); leaf shape, size, texture (clear pictures are really helpful), and whether it’s evergreen or deciduous; twig branching pattern (opposite, alternate, or whorled); and bark color and texture. If you can give us all or most of those characteristics, you have a pretty good shot at getting your tree identified.

Does your staff do on site visits?

Yes! We can visit your school to support your school forest and school grounds efforts, or to help plan for integrating forestry education into your curriculum. Just let us know how we can help, and we’ll be happy to arrange a site visit. Please note that there is a fee associated with some of our consultant work and professional development services.

What part of the state do you cover?

All of it. We hold professional development, support school forests and outdoor classrooms, and plan curriculum integration throughout the state.

How many people do you need to have a professional development offering?

We need to have a minimum of 8 people to hold a workshop, course, or in-service. The topic and content can be tailored to your school’s specific interests and needs. Contact us to make arrangements.

Does LEAF have a model school that showcases what extensive, integrated K-12 forestry education looks like?

We’re working on that. We have been working with the Goodman-Armstrong School District to fully integrate forestry education into the school. To learn more about these efforts, click here. If you’d like your school to become a model, please contact us at leaf@uwsp.edu or 715-346-4956 to discuss further.

How can I get a LEAF Lesson Guide?

All the LEAF Lesson Guides are available in electronic format for free download on this webpage.
Paper copies are distributed through our K-12 Forestry for Wisconsin Classrooms workshops.

Is the LEAF curriculum aligned to standards that teachers are required to address?

Yes. LEAF is aligned to Wisconsin state standards in Agriculture Education, Language Arts, Environmental Education, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Visual Arts.

How does forestry education fit into school curriculum?

Teaching in and about forests can enhance student learning in most subject areas and grade levels.

What resources do you have to help teachers teach in or about forests?

LEAF provides extensive Wisconsin-focused curriculum resources and staff support to help teachers  teach in and about forests. LEAF also provide professional development to enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills.

Why don’t you include information about rainforests?

We believe it’s important to learn about what’s in your community. Rainforests are important, but so are Wisconsin’s forests and we don’t have any rainforests.

What resources do you offer for teachers?

LEAF offers extensive curriculum resources, engaging professional development, and networking and support to help you teach in and about Wisconsin’s forests.

How many school forests are there?

Please visit the School Forest page to access updated information.

Does my district have a school forest?

Please visit the School Forest page to access updated information.

Meet our staff

Matthew Brown

Matthew Brown

  • Communications Coordinator
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
Nicole Filizetti

Nicole Filizetti

  • Outreach Specialist
  • LEAF – Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Outreach and Extension, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF)
906-450-3106
Jonathan Ismail

Jonathan Ismail

  • Forestry Education Specialist
  • LEAF – Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF)
715-346-3229
Gretchen Marshall

Gretchen Marshall

  • Forestry and Outdoor Education Outreach Specialist
  • LEAF – Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Outreach and Extension, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF)
715-346-2633
Jamie Mollica

Jamie Mollica

  • Outreach Support Coordinator
  • KEEP – Wisconsin’s K-12 Energy Education Program and LEAF – Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Outreach and Extension, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP), Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF)
715-346-4818
Heather Phelps

Heather Phelps

  • Resource Specialist
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
College of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
715-498-2745
Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt

  • Associate Outreach Specialist
  • LEAF – Wisconsin’s K-12 Forestry Education Program
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Outreach and Extension, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, Wisconsin K-12 Forestry Education Program (LEAF)
715-346-3113
Gina Smith

Gina Smith

  • Resource Specialist
  • Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
  • College of Natural Resources
College of Natural Resources, Outreach and Extension, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
715-346-3005