School forest committee

four teachers sitting around a table talking

Committee responsibilities

First meeting

  1. Decide if the committee should use an informal or formal structure (having a president, VP, treasurer, or secretary).
  2. Decide how often, when, and where the committee should meet. Committees should meet at least once a year.
  3. Write a mission statement.
  4. Set ground rules that will:
    • Honor meeting dates, start times, end times, decisions, priorities, and assignments.
    • Prompt thoughtful responses and make sure all voices are heard fairly.
    • Make sure everyone’s voice is heard fairly.
    • Double-check for agreement on important issues.
    • Seek opposing points of view.
    • Steer away from discussing or rehashing previous decisions or negative topics.
    • Give credit where it is due for accomplishments.

Subsequent meetings
Committees address a variety of topics associated with their school forest, such as:

  1. Maintaining your site:
  2. Helping teachers use the school forest, such as requesting teacher professional development, organizing grab-and-go activity kits, or setting up bus schedules.
  3. Ensuring appropriate funding. This could mean applying for grants to pay for supplies, snowshoes, benches, or shelters. Some school forests generate money through timber harvest, event fees, or selling crafts made from forest items. This money should always be reinvested back into the site.
  4. Keeping school forest history (historical use of the site) and records such as inventorying plants and animals.
  5. Communicating with the public about the forest through writing articles, posting photos, posting signs or maps on-site, managing a Facebook group, etc.
  6. Recruiting other potential committee members to prevent burn-out and maintain long-term continuity when members move on.

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