School Forests Highlights

person tying ribbon on boardwalkTrail Camera Captures Vandals
At Lakewood School Forest in Duluth trail cameras caught more than just wildlife. Lakewood teachers were devastated to find that someone had vandalized part of the boardwalk and bridge one night last year. Luckily, the trail camera captured the vandals entering the forest. Students helped identify the people seen in the photos and administration worked to set things straight. The school received payment from the perpetrators for the damages.

Lakewood was then able to take advantage of the Improving Outdoor Classrooms grant and have CCM help with rebuilding the bridge and boardwalk.

people standing on bridgeService Learning in Action
About 20 seventh-grade students from Leah Moore's class at Proctor Middle School met regularly to help design a 180-foot trail for a Conservation Corps of Minnesota (CCM) project. The project also involved building a 30-foot boardwalk across a creek. The students then helped CCM workers create the trail as additional service-learning. Some boardwalk materials were donated by Hartley Nature Center and the rest were purchased by the school. Leah said, "The students have such a strong connection to this trail. They are very, very proud of their work. We will be hiding a geocache to mark the trail!" The project was provided through the Improving School Forest Outdoor Classrooms grant opportunity funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Mountain Iron-Buhl high school students who letteredLettering in School Forest
The Mountain Iron-Buhl school board passed a resolution to allow high school students to "letter" in School Forest. Yes, you read that right, students have another way to letter besides being active in sports. Students who are members of the school's Forest Management Program can earn a letter for their letterman's jacket if they meet the requirements. Members work and mentor elementary students in the School Forest, work on land management projects, and learn about natural resources. "This is a very active group," Superintendent Klarich said. The board hopes this will entice more students to be involved in the Forest Management program.

students planting tree with foresterAdded Acres Increases Possibilities
International Falls School Forest designated an additional 10.4 acres to their School Forest this fall. Since 1954 International Falls has enjoyed their 177-acre School Forest, which is located over 20 miles from the school. While they enjoy the diversity and experiences the larger forest presents, they wanted to encourage more outdoor instruction on a regular basis. Superintendent Kevin Grover partnered with the city of International Falls to designate Riverside Park and another small park area, both located right across the street from the high school. Students have already been using the park for a variety of class lessons. The school decided to also designate two areas adjacent to the elementary school so teachers had easy access for their younger students. They plan to add an outdoor seating area next year.