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Stevens Point Campus
Jul 13, 2024 19:05 - POINTER ALERT Stevens Point: ALL CLEAR. The tornado warning has expired.

2023 School Forest Summit

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Sign up for the LEAFlet for news on future opportunities. See photos of the Summit on Facebook.

Put on your hiking shoes, bring your forest management plan and favorite outdoor lessons, pick up your environmental education team, and head to Merrill, Wisconsin, for our 2-day School Forest Summit ‘23! It’s an event you won’t want to miss and will include ​​networking with inspiring educators, professional development, and recreation. The event will be held at the 748-acre Nels P. Evjue Merrill School Forest – N4740, 107 S State St, Merrill, WI​–​ from Tuesday, July 25 through Wednesday, July 26.

  • All participants must be associated with a registered Wisconsin School Forest.
  • Summit registration fee: $75.
  • The registration deadline is Monday, July 10, 2023. Space is limited! No onsite registration will be allowed.

Questions? Contact Steve Schmidt

Accessibility note: We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals. Ramp access at lodge. UTV onsite to aid with mobility outdoors. Wheelchair access in most outdoor learning spaces is limited. If you require accommodations there will be an opportunity to let us know in the registration process.


Please note that more detail will be added as it becomes available. Depending on final numbers, the schedule may be split to allow for smaller groups.

  • 8:00 AM – Check In
  • 9:00 AM – Welcome, Opening Remarks, Housekeeping
  • 10:00 AM to Noon – LEAF Field Enhancements – LEAF Staff will model how to use the Field Enhancements found in the LEAF Guides
  • Noon to 1:00 PM – Lunch Speaker – Bill Millis, WDNR Forester – Forest Stewardship Plans and How to Use Them
  • 1:00 PM – Speed Networking
  • 2:00 – 4:00 PM – Tour the scho​ol forest in a tractor-pulled wagon
  • 4:00 PM – Lightning share sessions – Ecology, games, and recreation
  • 5:30 PM – Cookout

  • 6:00 AM – Sunrise hike on part of the Ice Age Trail
  • 7:30 AM – Pancake breakfast and School Forest maple syrup tasting contest
  • 8:45 AM – DNR School Forest Award presentation
  • 9:00 AM – Energy Education – Solar at School Forests Presentation from KEEP
  • 10:00 AM – Project Learning Tree session
  • 11:00 AM – Lightning Share – Ecology
  • Noon to 1:00 PM – Lunch Speaker – Paula Zwicke, Educational Consultant – Class Act Charter School – A Case for PBL by Paula Zwicke
  • 1:00 PM – Project-Based Learning workshop
  • 2:00 PM – EE Research to Practice
  • 3:00 PM – Summit Photo, Wrap-up, and Evaluation

  • 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM – School Forest Foundational Planning Workshop
    • 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.
    • Separate registration is required. *Summit registrants use discount code SFFP23 in your registration cart to claim discounted rate.
    • $25 to attend independently from Summit registration.
  • 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM – PLT Facilitator Training Workshop
    • Thursday will offer the chance for school forest educators to become trained as a Project Learning Tree facilitator. PLT facilitators provide professional development to other educators, helping them learn how to use PLT lessons with students. This PLT facilitator training will give you a deeper understanding of the Project Learning Tree program, as well as background in how to teach adults in indoor and outdoor professional development settings. As a PLT facilitator, you will be able to train other teachers in your district to use PLT, expanding their comfort with forestry education. It also opens opportunities to host PLT workshops at your school forest facility, bringing in outside groups such as Scouting leaders, childcare providers, 4H leaders, home school clubs, or even grandparents.
    • Participants in this training must have participated in one of the Summit’s Wednesday, July 26th, PLT sessions or have previous PLT training.
    • Free with Summit registration. Separate registration is required. Item will be offered for you to add to your cart as you register for the Summit.

Additional Details

  • Friends of Merrill School Forest is graciously providing food for most of the Summit!
    • 7/25 Lunch and supper provided
    • 7/26 Breakfast and lunch provided. Supper on own.
    • ​7/27 Optional Add-on Day – Light breakfast and full lunch provided.

Please let us know at registration if you have dietary restrictions. We will try our best to accommodate.

  • Limited onsite lodging
    • Camping with access to restrooms in lodge
    • Lodge – male & female bunk rooms
  • Camp New Wood Lincoln County Park
    • 7 primitive, non-reservable campsites
    • First come, first served, @$20 per night
    • Very close to Merrill SF
  • Council Grounds State Park
    • 52 campsites with showers and flush toilets
    • Reserve ahead – good availability as of early April
    • Approximately 9 miles from the Merril SF

Other options can be found within 20 minutes of the school forest in both Merrill and Tomahawk.