Get outside… Learn… Make a connection... Children’s Forests are places where kids and families are connecting to the outdoors. Visit your local Children’s Forest for a high quality outdoor learning experience created by kids and their communities. Explore the opportunities for kids to get involved in hands-on projects, learn about natural environments, and take care of these special places.
Children’s Forest Goals
Children’s Forests share a commitment to four national goals:
Connect kids, families, and adults to healthy outdoor activities across all landscapes.
Create new education and career opportunities.
Foster an understanding of how our changing environment affects the world and how people can work together to embrace these changes.
Provide professional development opportunities for educators, with emphasis on conservation and the natural world.
Link takes you to a overview page with a short description of each Children's Forest.
Growing a Children's Forest Network
While each Children’s Forests will have unique attributes based on the place and the partners involved, each Children’s Forest is also part of a nationwide network.
Elements of participation in the nationwide network:
Children’s Forests are established locally and approved by the Regional Office, based on nationally consistent criteria.
Children's Forests have access to a national peer group through the Community of Practice – “the whole is more than the sum of the parts
Children’s Forests use and build on existing programs, tools and methods.
Children's Forest look to communities of place and communities of interest to develop a unique local vision, while taking part in and contributing to a national network of peer learning. Although the U.S. Forest Service is a central partner in Children's Forest programs, partnerships are critical to the long-term programmatic and financial sustainability of Children’s Forests. Through partnerships, the Forest Service shares the work and learning with strong networks of youth, educators, non-profits, environmental and recreation professionals and land managers on the local, regional, and state level.
While some Children’s Forests have been on the ground for years, the notion of a network of Children’s Forests is fairly new. If your local National Forest does not yet have a Children’s Forest, please contact your local office to express your interest. Partners are essential in developing and programming a Children’s Forest – your interest may be what it takes to begin.
More Children’s Forest Information
For those interested in more program details for Children’s Forests, read the Common Elements paper. (Download Common Elements PDF 727 kb )