Why become a school forest?

School Forest logo

A school forest is an outdoor classroom where students learn a variety of subjects and address academic standards. It can become a place that not only enhances an appreciation of natural resources but heightens community pride and involvement. A functioning school forest has positive effects on students, teachers, parents, and the community.

planting tree

For students, school forests can:

  • make lessons more relevant by using meaningful, real-world situations
  • reach students through hands-on learning
    increase knowledge gain and student achievement
  • provide mentoring opportunities for older students
  • encourage physical activity and improve student health
  • allow students with disabilities to have frequent, safe
  • contact with the natural world
  • develop young people's innate interest in the natural world
  • foster a sense of ownership and community connection
  • increase creativity, self-esteem, and motivation


For schools and teachers, school forests can:

  • allow teachers to try new teaching methods in an outdoor setting
  • allow teachers to interact with students on a different level
  • "green" your school by using sustainable and efficient ways of maintaining school property
  • meet academic standards
  • increase teacher motivation and enthusiasm
  • decrease vandalism and increase school pride

Parent walking with child

For parents, families, and communities, school forests can:

  • strengthen parent-teacher relationships while working toward a common goal
  • provide increased recreation and exploration opportunities
  • create a more environmentally literate population who will make sound, long-term community decisions
  • create a sense of ownership among parents, families, students, and community members
  • engender cooperation between stakeholders
  • involve community members as guest presenters and volunteers, and allow them to serve as positive adult role models
  • increase community safety. Studies show that crime decreases as a community spends more time outside in a positive environment

Learn more:

  • find research that supports nature as a key component in education and communities.
  • information on School Forest program benefits and support pieces.