Autumn is an especially beautiful time to enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful forests, thanks to the annual fall color show that starts in the north woods in mid-September and moves south with colors peaking in southern Wisconsin woodlands later in October. Learn more about the science of fall colors.
Formal and non-formal educators are important to nurturing a love of Wisconsin's forests. In Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, he quotes a fourth-grader who says he'd rather play indoors because "that's where all the electrical outlets are." Encouraging outdoor activities and teaching about the benefits of Wisconsin forests are important. Get started with instilling the bigger picture in the hands, hearts and minds of youth by going to the forestry education resource links below.
LEAF - Learning Experiences and Activities in Forestry - Wisconsin's K-12 Forestry Education program.
Project Learning Tree - An award-winning environmental education program for PreK-8 formal and non-formal educators.
In the classroom
- LEAF - Learning Experiences and Activities in Forestry - Wisconsin's K-12 forestry education program known as LEAF (Learning, Experiences and Activities in Forestry) was created in 2001 to help promote forestry education in Wisconsin. Since then, LEAF has provided professional development to thousands of Wisconsin's teachers and provided curriculum to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin students.
- Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program for PreK-12 formal and non-formal educators. The materials, available through PLT workshops lead by certified instructors, are correlated to the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. Through hands-on, interdisciplinary activities, PLT helps young people learn how to think, not what to think, about complex environmental issues. In Wisconsin, Project Learning Tree is administered by the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education .
- Wisconsin’s School Forest Program is a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education in the College of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point. Wisconsin's school forest program began with 1927 legislation and Wisconsin's first school forests were established in the spring of 1928 in Laona, Crandon and Wabeno. Today there are 238 schools with school forests, located in all 72 Wisconsin counties.
School forests are remarkable educational resources that are available to:
- Help schools meet state and national core education standards;
- Serve as a focus to integrate environmental education into the school's curriculum;
- Provide hands-on, experiential learning opportunities;
- Strengthen school-community relations;
- Demonstrate sustainable natural resource management; and
- Produce income for education activities.
- Explore fun and interactive pages for kids at the popular DNR website called EEK!
- Other curriculum resources
Forestry education resources
- Take Smokey Bear camping! - Learn how kids ages 5-12 can take Smokey Bear camping.
- Every Root an Anchor - Wisconsin's famous and historic trees.
- Forestry Song - Find the lyrics of "The Forest Is the Place Where We All Live" by Stuart Stotts. Included are the songwriter's biography, the songsheet, a video clip of motions to the chorus of the song and more.
- In Grandpa's Woods - Interactive book for children.
- Poster Game - Trivia questions for a game board separated by category.
- Wisconsin Forest Tales - Historical fiction book in which glimpses of forest history and life over the past 150 years is shared.
Basic facts and ID
- Learn how to identify a tree.
- Learn about harmful forest insects and diseases.
- Identify invasive species.
Detailed information and analysis
- Education and Outreach Strategic Plan
- Forestry publications.
- Explore the state forest census data under Forest Inventory and Analysis.
- Find out how to order aerial photos.
- Get an overview about Geographic Information System (GIS) data and learn more about Forestry GIS.
- Where You Live links you to water topics
Adult education and careers
- DNR education and training programs give teachers and adult learners helpful resources.
- Enjoy continuing education with workshops and events.
- Order publications with the Education Connection flyer.
- Go Wild with Wisconsin Wildcards order form.
- Adult learners can find ongoing workshops, clinics and training workshops.
- Volunteer instructors hold seasonal Recreational Safety Education Classes.
- Job opportunities and career information.
Plant a tree!
- Looking guidance from a forester? Search the Forestry Assistance Locator.
- Find out how to order tree seedlings.
- Discover Arbor Day celebration ideas.