Through Conservation Education, the Forest Service provides a variety of educational resources and programs for individuals of all ages to learn about the environment and our nation’s forests and grasslands. Through these hands-on, interactive learning opportunities, students, educators, and parents can explore how to become a responsible steward of our natural resources. There are also a variety of resources for teachers and parents to engage youth in environmental education and for exploring careers in conservation.
In November 2022, NASA and the Forest Service flew 1,000 tree seeds aboard the Artemis I rocket in commemoration of the 50-year legacy of Apollo Moon Trees. Tree seeds from five species - loblolly pine, American sycamore, sweetgum, coast redwood and Douglas-fir - circled the moon aboard Artemis I. This project provides important educational opportunities for people of all ages to learn about space exploration and botany, and the opportunity to ask real life scientific questions. In 2023, education and community organizations will have the opportunity to submit proposals to receive a sapling and become an Artemis Moon Tree steward. Check back soon for more details.
The Natural Inquirer Journals, produced in collaboration with FIND Outdoors, provide FREE science education resources – both in print and online – for K-12 audiences and educators. These resources are based upon studies from USDA Forest Service scientists.
In addition, Natural Inquirer Scientist and Engineer Cards highlight over 240 Forest Service careers in science and engineering, inspiring career exploration in youth.
Did you know that every 4th grader and their family can access most federal public lands for free? Through Every Kid Outdoors, 4th graders throughout the U.S. can receive a free pass to over 2,000 federal lands and waters to discover wildlife, resources, and history. The program creates connections to public lands and inspires future stewards of our national forests and other public lands.
eeINSPIRE: Forest Service Conservation Education partners with the North American Association for Environmental Education to deliver a monthly professional development series for environmental educators who want to build skills and stay current on the latest trends and issues in the field of environmental education. Past webinars have explored a variety of topics, including climate change education and environmental justice.
Forest Literacy Framework: Project Learning Tree’s Forest Literacy Framework, developed in collaboration with the Forest Service, explores forests and sustainability for K- 12 students and their teachers. This comprehensive guide presents a conceptual structure to increase people’s understanding of forests and how to take action to conserve our nation’s forests.
Health and Nature: Through a partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation, Forest Service is shining a light on the health benefits of nature and the role of nature in psychological and physical well-being.
Greening STEM Grants: In partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation, the Greening STEM Grants program provides grants to programs working with middle and high school students that provide meaningful STEM experiences while advancing the Forest Service mission.
These programs bring nature to individuals and classrooms wherever they are though a series of webcasts, webinars, and online education resources. The live and pre-recorded programs bring exciting, on-site learning about bats, butterflies, climate change, wetlands, and more!
Founded in 1984, Science Olympiad is the premier team STEM competition in the nation, providing standards-based challenges to 5,500 teams at 400 tournaments in all 50 states. From 2022 - 2024, Forest Service Conservation Education and Science Olympiad are partnering to offer a Science Olympiad event focused specifically on forestry. Together, Science Olympiad and Forest Service Conservation Education will support enhanced knowledge of forestry and natural resources for K-12 students and educators through conservation and environmental education and access to Forest Service materials.
Each year all 1st through 5th grade students are invited to demonstrate, through original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl, their understanding of fire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles. The Grand Prize National Poster Contest Winner wins a free trip to Washington DC, including round trip airfare and accommodations for four, to attend the Recognition Ceremony. A $50 check, sponsored by the National Garden Clubs, Inc., is awarded to each of the first-place national winners.
The Junior Forest and Junior Snow Ranger programs use Forest Service science and practices to encourage children ages 7 through 13 to enjoy and appreciate nature. Check out the booklets below for more information.
Agents of Discovery
Find Outdoors/ Natural Inquirer
National Environmental Education Foundation
North American Association for Environmental Education
Sustainable Forestry Initiative/ Project Learning Tree