Natural Inquirer

Middle school students across the country are up close and personal with Forest Service scientists who write for the Natural Inquirer, a science education journal, now in its 11th year. The scientists share their research interests and results with students and educators through a fun and informative publication. Each issue of the journal is dedicated to a specific theme that highlights the Forest Service’s current research in areas such as wildfire, urban forestry, and climate change. In each issue the kids “meet the scientists” before reading background information on science and the environment and about the scientists’ specific research.

In 2008, kids had the opportunity to read three new editions of the Natural Inquirer. In the World’s Forest edition, written from a Food and Agriculture Organization report, kids learn how global forest resources are assessed. The FACELook edition, a new monograph, invites students to explore the relationship between carbon, photosynthesis, and roots of trees. The Worming Their Way In edition, another new monograph, encourages kids to examine the effects of nonnative earthworms on the environment.

Teachers also had new opportunities in 2008, when the Forest Service presented a new teacher workshop using the Natural Inquirer at the Sally Ride Science Educator Conference: “Earth Then, Earth Now, Our Changing Climate.” Educators had the opportunity to learn about the Natural Inquirer and about techniques for presenting information to students in a culturally sensitive way.