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School Forest Awards Presented

Wisconsin's K-12 Forestry Education Program - LEAF (Learning, Experiences & Activities in Forestry) - honored two DNR foresters as "School Forest Champions" on December 1, 2005 during the Wisconsin School Forest Summit at the DC Everest School Forest.

Gary VanderWyst has worked extensively with the Butternut School District to revitalize their school forest program. He is a strong advocate for forestry education and has talked with school board, administrators and teachers in the district about opportunities the school forest provides. VanderWyst has developed lesson plans and created events for students to learn about forest management, timber sales, forest products and forestry careers. His efforts have inspired the Butternut School District to embrace their school forest as an important educational opportunity.

Emanuel "Manny" Oradei has been instrumental in the development of the Cedric A Vig Outdoor Classroom as well as forest management for all of the Rhinelander School Forests. He has recently been involved in ensuring the district recognizes the long-term value of their school forests and doesn’t over-emphasize the potential for short-term economic gain. Oradei is a member of the district’s school forest committee and works closely with teachers, administrators, and community members to ensure that the forests are appropriately managed and that students have opportunities to learn about sustainable natural resource management.

Wisconsin’s school forest program was created more than 75 years ago to allow schools to own property for forestry programs. The primary focus was to engage students in replanting our forests. Since those early days, the program has grown and evolved considerably due to the efforts of many individuals and organizations. Today nearly 350 school forests are available to:

  • Integrate environmental education into schools’ curriculum
  • Provide experiential learning for students, teachers, and the public
  • Meet state-mandated education standards
  • Demonstrate sustainable natural resources management
  • Strengthen school-community relations
  • Provide income for education activities

The current strength of the school forest program would not have been possible without contributions from these individuals and organizations as well as others that help their school forests “reach new heights.”

For more information about the School Forest Champion Awards or the statewide school forest program, contact Jeremy Solin, Wisconsin School Forest Education Specialist, at (715) 346-4907 or [email protected] or visit www.uwsp.edu/cnr/leaf/sf.

Land purchased on Milwaukee County Grounds for forestry education

Governor Doyle announced on August 5, 2005 that the State of Wisconsin has purchased 67 acres of land in Milwaukee County for a forestry educational focus in Wisconsin's largest metro area. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-Division of Forestry is leading a partnership effort to plan an education facility and programming on this site. Read the Governor's news release about this .

Trees For Tomorrow Receives Accreditation

Trees For Tomorrow earned accreditation for the 2004-2005 school year from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). Trees For Tomorrow has received accreditation from the Association each year since 2000.

Trees For Tomorrow, a natural resource specialty school located in Eagle River, Wisconsin, offers field-based programs which place students and teachers in direct contact with natural resources that support human needs. These programs develop awareness, knowledge, and understanding of natural resources to help participants understand and make informed decisions regarding the management and wise use of those resources. This experience inspires informed participation in policymaking and promotes stewardship and renewal of natural resources for use by future generations.

To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI’s high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school, and implement a continuous school improvement plan focusedon increasing student performance. The accreditation process is voluntary and requires annual review.

To learn more about Trees For Tomorrow, visit www.treesfortomorrow.com. To learn more about NCA CASI accreditation, visit www.ncacasi.org.

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