Program Information: Land Management

DNR forester leaning against tree talking with teachersOnce a school has designated land into the program the DNR School Forest Program can provide support and resources to help you manage your land. However, the DNR will not manage your land for you, make specific requirements, or set your management objectives. It is up to you to identify your management priorities and carry them out.

 

We can:

  • Develop a long-term School Forest Stewardship Plan with you.
  • Advise and assist on easements, land ownership, restricted site use (such as ATVs, hunting, horses, etc.), trespass issues
  • Advise on site management, such as trails, invasive species removal, reforestation, etc.
  • Help you set up and guide timber harvests
  • Connect you to local resource groups for establishing rain gardens, trails, boardwalks, etc
  • Provide free Arbor Month tree seedlings each spring
Land Management
image: Man in the woods with clip board

The DNR School Forest Program can provide support and resources to help you manage your land. However, the DNR will not manage your land for you, make specific requirements, or set your management objectives. It is up to you to identify your management priorities and carry them out.

 

Stewardship Plan

image: DNR forester with management plan in handA stewardship plan is written by a forester. The forester will visit your site, meet with your School Forest committee to learn your goals, and write a plan specific to your needs. The primary goal of a stewardship plan is to increase the use of the School Forest for education.

Be prepared to meet with your forester by having educational and land management goals in mind. Site coordinators and school forest committees manage the site for the whole school. Consider doing a school-wide assessment, asking all teachers for input, to create goals that reflect the multiple needs and uses of the forest.

Examples of School-Wide Assessments

Stewardship plans are long-term site management plans. This means that even if school staff changes, the steps and goals of the plan stay the same. The School Forest Program keeps a copy of the stewardship plan and gives another copy to you.

A stewardship plan contains a list of your school's goals, the forester's assessment of the natural resources on your site (including a map), and recommendations of how to meet your goals.

Examples of School Forest stewardship goals:

  • Increase School Forest use
  • Design trail network and natural features to promote student, teacher, and community use
  • Improve the quality of wildlife habitat and timber resources
  • Establish or enhance original vegetation
  • Maintain health of the trees
  • To use the land as an education tool through a self-guided trail
  • To demonstrate timber harvests that will generate income
  • Reduce invasive species
  • Learn from the interactions of natural and human communities
  • Protect riparian areas
  • Reduce vandalism

Stewardship plans are site-specific and are intended to be used as a guiding document.

Stewardship plan Template

Sample stewardship plans

Site Development Ideas

Site features add uniqueness and character to a school forest. Even a few key features can make the site more usable, comfortable, and welcoming. Features can be designed as simple or elaborate as you desire and made from materials ranging from stumps and logs to finely crafted, pre-made purchased items. Check out site features from various school forests.