Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT)
For information and to apply to FIT, contact the Forest Stewardship Helpline at 1-800-783-8733 or visit www.forestryinstitute.org.
What is FIT?
The Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) is a week-long course designed to provide K-12 teachers with knowledge, skills, and tools to effectively teach their students about forest ecology and forest resource management practices. The FIT program is based upon the California Department of Education's subject area standards and environmental education goals, and is situated within science and social science frameworks. The program strives to empower teachers to foster conceptual learning, critical thinking, and decision-making skills in their classrooms.
Details of the Humboldt FIT
The Humboldt FIT takes place at Humboldt State University (HSU), surrounded by the actively managed Arcata Community Forest. Instruction is both in the classroom and in the forests. There are frequent field trips throughout Humboldt to view non-industrial and industrial forestry operations, old-growth redwoods in local State Parks, and a tour of a local lumber mill.
Each FIT is designed to give a well-rounded understanding of forestry while incorporating local flavor of the issues. In designing the Redwood Region FIT, opportunities are provided for teachers to learn about wildlife biology and management such as with salmon and spotted owls. This includes an afternoon with wildlife biologists from Green Diamond Resource Company who present their strategies and goals, and reflect upon what they have learned about these intriguing animals. There will be a chance to see spotted owls up close, to snorkel in Little River with salmon fry (juvenile fish), and to utilize a variety of field sampling instruments, much of which can be utilized directly in the classroom.
Who teaches the teachers?
For each FIT, over 40 local resource professionals are invited from the US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service, Tribes, non-industrial private forest landowners, Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), and industrial forest companies, to name a few! Speakers volunteer their time and travel expenses.
What are FIT graduates saying about FIT?
The following comments are from FIT graduates who described their FIT experiences.
"I learned a whole new perspective on forestry. I learned a lot about fire, wildlife, and Sierra Pacific's practices and philosophies. I also learned about California's regulations and the need to encourage other states to follow. I learned a lot of activities and lessons I will be able to do. I learned about the complex issues involved w/forestry and that we use too much wood."
"I learned so many things! People who work in the forests are generally knowledgeable about a variety of things - soils, water, wildlife, vegetation. There are many jobs available for people who would like to work in forests (far more that require a college degree than I ever realized). A burning forest can be a good thing."
"Forest management issues - fire, soil, thinning, clear cutting, etc. These issues are very complex. I've moved away from my "Don't cut down any trees stance" to an understanding of the need to manage this renewable resource. I was especially interested in the research the Cajun and others are doing on buffer zones/creeks. I am glad to see increased exchange of ideas/knowledge among scientists and timber people. I learned numerous hands on environmental activities to do with my second grade to increase their awareness, develop community, and make them better stewards of the earth."
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