Teachers Sought for “Forest for Every Classroom” Workshops

Release Date: Dec 6, 2012  

Missoula, MT. – A coalition of non-profit groups, state and federal natural resource agencies, the University of Montana, Bitterroot Resource Conservation District (RCD) and Missoula County Public schools invites teachers to apply to a year-long series of place-based workshops. The Place-based education program – titled “Forest for Every Classroom” – uses the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in science, math, social studies and other subject across the curriculum.

According to program managers, teachers who enroll in the program gain experience in place-based education and service learning while learning about the cultural history, natural history, and current landscape issues in western Montana. The program is open to educators teaching all subject areas and grade levels.

The Forest for Every Classroom workshops provides teachers with 11 days of focused hands-on, experiential learning and teaching techniques in a variety of natural settings, which include Alberton Gorge, Blackfoot Valley, Bitterroot Mountains, Seeley Lake, and Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Teachers develop their own curriculum that increases student literary skills and understanding of forested landscapes and their communities. According to workshop organizers, the program also provides teachers a unique opportunity to share ideas and develop long-lasting and valuable networks with natural resource and environmental education professionals.

Program organizer Sue Reel said the workshops not only provide teachers with valuable teaching tools and increased awareness and understanding of the natural world, but “often results in one of the most valuable career development experiences of a teacher’s educational career.”

“We often hear from teachers who tell us that this program inspired them in many ways, not only in the classroom but in many other aspects of their life as well,” Reel said.

The first workshop is scheduled for April, 2013 and the series runs through January, 2014. There is no tuition cost for applicants to the program; however, selected teachers must pay a $100 deposit that is refundable upon completion of the program. State in-service and graduate credits are available. Application deadline is December 31, 2012.

For more information on the program and instructions on how to apply please contact Susan Reel at (406) 329-3831, or Lisa Bickell with the Montana Natural History Center at (406) 237-0405.

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