The school forest education plan will act as a foundational plan that the rest of your program will be built upon. The plan will provide clear directions for development and sustenance of the school forest program. If you have any questions about foundational planning for school forest programs, please contact the Wisconsin School Forest Education Specialist with the LEAF program at: 715-346-2633 or Gretchen.Marshall@uwsp.edu
Before starting to create an education plan, step back and gather some information from educators, administrators, community members, parents, and students in your district. A needs assessment can provide valuable information on the opportunities and challenges of using the school forest. Use the following example as a guideline to develop your needs assessment to address your specific district’s needs. Don’t forget there are free online tools to help you conduct your survey as well that make it easier to administer and tabulate the results of the survey.
School Forest Needs Assessment
School forests are incredible outdoor classrooms. Do you have a firm foundation to build your school forest program upon? Educators often recognize the uniqueness of having a school forest but struggle to understand how to use it with students. Having a written plan is a crucial step in developing your school forest program. We will look closely at the educational value of school forests, what natural resource features are on your property, connect the forest to classroom curriculum, discuss how to engage staff, and brainstorm ways to ensure learning at the school forest endures over time. Bring a team and join us for a day of foundational planning where we look at the steps needed to integrate the forest into your district’s learning objectives, gain resources, and network with other school forest educators who are looking to develop, use, and sustain their school forest programming.
The school forest education plan template provides an established, approved format for school forest education plan development.
Wisconsin School Forest Foundation Plan Template
The following samples serve as examples for other school forests developing their education plans. These samples are not perfect and each education plan should be developed to uniquely fit the needs of each individual school forest. Use the samples to guide your education plan development and to generate ideas for your own school forest.