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Exciting ForestLearning developments – new resources and creating global connections

ForestLearning is excited to announce a new Virtual Classroom with popular children’s television character George the Farmer.

During the ‘Forest Science Explorers Forest Protectors’ video experience, students and teachers will join George and expert environmental forester Kelsey Johnson in the eucalypt plantation forests of Mount Gambier, South Australia, for an excursion deep into the heart of the forest … without having to leave the classroom!

This highly engaging, 30-minute curriculum-aligned session, designed for Foundation – Year 4 students will cover many fascinating and important topics including:

  • What animals live in these forests?
  • What homes do these animals need?
  • How do foresters protect animals and plants in the forest?
  • Where does paper come from?

The video provides viewers with plenty of interaction opportunities, as well as quiz questions and Q&As.

The resource can be found at https://forestlearning.edu.au/find-a-resource/article/114/virtual-classroom-forest-science-explorers-forest-protectors.html

ForestLearning attends Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia conference

ForestLearning representatives were delighted to attend the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) 2023 conference in Canberra in May.

This event offered a rich opportunity to chat with teachers from across Australia during the ForestLearning workshops and at its trade stand.

“We were pleased to share details of ForestLearning’s many curriculum aligned tools and resources which are freely available to teachers, and take a focus on wood, sustainability, carbon and forests,” ForestLearning Program Manager Beth Welden said.

The two workshops were held in conjunction with Responsible Wood Sustainability Manager Matt De Jongh and Australian Forest Products Association Climate Manager Natasa Sikman. Attendees heard how the forestry sector not only meets Australia’s timber and fibre needs, but also considers the biodiversity and other environmental impacts of its activities to ensure the protection of forest health and resilience for today and future generations.

The industry is committed to monitoring and protecting the health of Australia’s forests.

“Without maintaining the health of these landscapes, the sector itself will not survive,” Welden said.

ForestLearning attends Sustainable Forestry Initiative conference in Vancouver, Canada

ForestLearning Program Manager Beth Welden attended the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Conference 2023 in Vancouver, Canada, held in mid-May.

The conference brought together industry leaders, educators and environmentalists to discuss sustainable forestry practices, education, and the intersection of conservation and forestry. The conference provided a platform for sharing experiences, knowledge, and fostering collaborations for the betterment of the forestry and wood products industries.

Welden’s attendance allowed her to connect with other international forest education programs, such as Project Learning Tree (PLT) in the USA and Canada, as well as local, national, binational, and global community members. These included representatives from the SFI, and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) networks, indigenous representatives, government officials, students, faculty, researchers and conservation groups.

“ForestLearning’s presence at this important international event resulted in valuable insights and outcomes. We aimed to cultivate the sharing and licensing of high-quality international forest education resources so they can be adapted for the Australian curriculum and contexts for our teachers to use in their classrooms,” Welden said.

PLT expressed interest in further exploring the licensing of subset of resources by way of a pilot program for adaptation to the Australian context. PLT is committed to advancing forest literacy, stewardship, and green career pathways, using trees and forests as windows on the world.

“I gained valuable insights and firsthand experiences into the PLT program structure and teaching resource toolkits. Their program is grass roots, locally focussed and includes a network of on-the-ground regional coordinators. These coordinators work to develop partnerships between schools and industry, indigenous cultural advisers and steering committees, and green jobs coordinators in regions,” Welden said.

“Together they work to build ‘forest literacy’ throughout primary and secondary education and help address workforce issues through the attraction and retention of new forester interns from environmental science fields.”

Off the back of this, FWPA and ForestLearning were invited to attend the Youth Delegation PLT training workshop immediately following the conference.

“This training workshop provided exposure to hands-on PLT forest education activities and the upskilling of ‘youth industry champions’ for the delivery of programs and activities in schools across the USA and Canada,” Welden said.

“Pleasingly, the workshop highlighted the similarities in resource content seen between PLT and ForestLearning, the importance both programs place on hands-on activities to engage young learners, and therefore the efficiencies to be gained in adapting PLT teaching resources for Australian classrooms through licensing agreements.”

Moving forward, ongoing conversations between PLT and ForestLearning will also contribute to the development of Indigenous-related content and themes for teaching resources within ForestLearning. Both organisations are committed to incorporating respectful and authentic Indigenous voices as they relate to forests and wood products.

Welden also met with several other Canadian, American and international organisations working with schools in forestry education, including the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society and Forestry Future Alliance in Alberta.

“We also initiated discussions to establish an informal international forestry education consortium, aiming to enhance collaboration and sharing among international organisations such as ForestLearning, PLT, and the International Forestry Students Association,” Welden said.

The SFI Conference 2023 provided an invaluable opportunity for FWPA and ForestLearning to engage with international partners involved in forestry and wood product education in schools and explore collaborations in forestry education. The ideas and inspirations gathered will be further explored with PLT and others in a meeting set for July.

Posted Date: June 13, 2023

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