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.