Forestry Institute for Teachers
(Last Revised 10/1/2002)
The Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) is a 6-day, hands-on, intensive workshop in a forested setting which provides California K-12th grade teachers information and educational tools to teach a balanced environmental education curriculum of forest ecology and natural resource management. FIT's long-term objective is to provide teachers and schoolchildren with the skills to recognize, analyze and make decisions relating to environmental issues. FIT's inter-disciplinary approach demonstrates that watershed health/restoration, recreation, other beneficial uses and sustainable forest management can be sensitive to human needs and serve people through multiple use while caring for the land through good land stewardship.
FIT includes field trips to recreational areas, logging sites, mills, restoration projects, and actively managed forestland that meet economic needs while maintaining watershed health. Participants interact in the classroom and in the field with natural resource professionals (foresters, botanists, wildlife biologists, etc.) representing public and private agencies and organizations, including the Forest Service. Contact with practicing professionals, not just the spokespersons and PR people, contributes greatly to teachers' increased understanding and appreciation of forest ecosystems, complexity of forest management issues, and the dedication, expertise and credibility of natural resource professionals. FIT also assists teachers in incorporating existing environmental education materials into their classrooms in support of statewide curriculum frameworks.
Upon returning to their schools, FIT participants conduct in-service training for their colleagues about what they learned at FIT and implement 4-8 week forestry curriculum units developed at FIT. FIT is easily transferable to other geographical areas and forest types.