Resources: Training and Events

DNR forester and landowner walking in landowner's woodlands

We offer a variety of professional development to support teachers and volunteers using their outdoor classroom. Regional trainings, summits, and conferences are open to all School Forest participants and are usually free.

School Forest Regional Trainings

The School Forest Regional Trainings are open to any current School Forest teacher, administrator, and committee members. These free, one-day events include CEUs, educational materials, lunch, and snacks. A limited number of substitute stipends will be available.

School Forest Conference

A two-day conference is offered every other year for any School Forest school staff, committee member, or volunteer.

School Forest Workshops

Engage teachers at your School Forest with a free, site-specific School Forest workshop. School Forest staff will work with you to tailor a training that will address both your staff’s teaching needs and the site's physical features. Participants can include teachers, assistants, administrators, grounds staff, parents, or volunteers. Your local forester and other resource professionals may also attend. It's up to you. Participants receive materials, CEUs, resources, and instruction FREE as a School Forest Program benefit.

Workshops include:

  • Effective, indoor and outdoor, hands-on forestry activities
  • Activities that address Minnesota academic standards
  • Strategies for teaching outdoors
  • PLT Environmental Education Activity Guide (with four contact hours or more)

What happens at a workshop?

Workshop content depends on what you need and how much time you have. Workshop goals depend on the teachers' goals. A common goal is to increase teacher comfort teaching outdoors and School Forest use. Often this means better integration of the School Forest into existing curriculum.
Training date and length vary depending on your school's needs. Workshops can take place all at once or over a few days. The most effective trainings tend to be a full day (6 hours) and may include free Project Learning Tree activity guides. A 2- or 4-hour workshop is also available.

Example topics:

  • outdoor/environmental teaching strategies
  • grade-specific or subject-specific lessons
  • outdoor classroom management tips and tricks
  • guided walk through the woods to become familiar with their space
  • time to work on outdoor curriculum integration
  • tree id
  • time to learn what other teachers are doing or want to do in their forest—you might be surprised!

How to set up a School Forest workshop

Set up a School Forest workshop, simply contact the School Forest staff and arrange a date, time, and location. Workshop planning begins with a short conversation about what your staff needs to increase their comfort and use their School Forest.

Other DNR Education trainings

The DNR offers many curricula that provide outdoor lesson ideas, such as Project Learning Tree. A list of all DNR education programs can be found on the DNR education Web site.