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The mission of the Division of Forestry’s Education program is to facilitate and promote objective education concerning the natural environment and its management. We do this by preparing educators to effectively deliver facts to their target audience. Our vision is to have a knowledgeable citizenry responsible for maintaining a healthy environment and thriving economy as a result of our continued investment of time and resources into each generation. Forests are part of an interdependent natural system, not an isolated entity. While Indiana's forestland is our focus, we consider the management of all natural resources.
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers, non-formal educators, home-school educators and others who work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Sponsored by the American Forest Foundation and used in 50 states and several foreign countries, PLT provides educators with interdisciplinary instructional activities and lesson plans that can be infused into their existing curricula. Teachers wishing to use PLT materials must attend a training session, where they receive the materials.
Arbor Day in Indiana is celebrated on the last Friday in April. This is another way to teach young people about the importance of trees. During the winter months, the Division of Forestry sends a letter to all Indiana school principals asking if they would like an Arbor Day tree for their schools. Those who do will receive a tree and instructions during the week before Arbor Day. A similar offer allows every third grade student in Indiana to receive a tree seedling.
Geared toward fourth-graders, this curricular supplement presents forest inventory data in an interesting, understandable way, and provides educators with information and lesson ideas. It is easy for students to use and contains additional resources and assessment tools for their teachers.
(Very large file--will take a few minutes to download.)
The Virtual Forest CD Series provides teachers and students with a variety of tools that allow them to explore a virtual forest on the computer. These programs are NOT intended to replace an actual trip to a forest, but rather to better prepare students for field study in a real forest by familiarizing them with the use of a dichotomous key, demonstrating techniques of forest plot inventory, providing responses to a multitude of natural resource questions, and introducing many forest management issues that are relevant to each of these different forest ecosystems.
The link below leads to the Temperate Rainforest Virtual Forest, a free simulation providing a sampling of features found on the other four Virtual Forest CDs. A link to an order form for the other four forest ecosystems is also available here.
The Virtual Forest CD Series
This award-winning PBS special, Indiana Expeditions: Forests At Work, investigates the science behind forestry from the lab to field. The video follows foresters into Indiana’s woodlands to learn how management helps keep Indiana’s forests healthy and productive. Whether it be an urban forest in the middle of a city or a 25,000-acre state forest, the science of forestry helps maintain the trees we depend on for the very air we breathe.