What is FIT?
The Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) is a multi-day residence workshop held at 4 northern California locations.
The goal of FIT is to provide K-12 teachers with knowledge, skills and tools to effectively teach their students about forest ecology and forest resource management practices. The program brings together natural resource specialists and teachers from rural and urban settings for one week, working side by side to gain a deeper understanding of the intricate interrelationship of forest ecosystems and human use of natural resources. The environment becomes the basis for integrating the learning of many subject areas, including environmental science, physical science, social science, biology, forestry, and history.
Each institute can accommodate 30 to 45 participants. All meals and lodging are free. Teachers are provided with extensive classroom and curriculum materials, and a $200 stipend on completion and implementation of a forest related curriculum unit or project conducted in their classrooms.
The FIT program is intricately correlated with the California Department of Education's subject area standards, Frameworks for Science and Social Science, and goals for Environmental Education. The program empowers teachers to foster conceptual learning, critical thinking and decision-making skills in their classrooms.
Each institute is held in a setting ideal for on-site study of forest ecology and natural resource management issues. The two June sessions are held at the University of California Forestry Camp, close to Quincy in Plumas County and at Camp Chinquapin near Pinecrest in Tuolumne County. The July sessions will be at Camp McCumber just east of Shingletown in Shasta County and at Humboldt State University, in Arcata in Humboldt County. The presenters and staff include public and private forest resource specialists and other natural resource managers, environmentalists, and science and environmental education curriculum specialists.
FIT endeavors to provide balanced, science-based education vital to the understanding of how decisions are made about management of forests and the natural resources upon which humans depend. Environmental education, integrated into student's entire education, can help them learn how to make choices and decisions about issues like forest health, ecosystem management, consumption and local economies.
Utilizing a balanced approach to explore the controversial issues surrounding California's forests, FIT participants examine how these ecosystems and their management impact the needs of both rural and urban citizens in regard to water, wildlife, recreation, biological diversity, habitat protection and consumer products derived from forests.
The providers of FIT recognize the ambitious nature of these goals and the need to explore differing points of view. The program includes both educational and hands-on activities, with time for reflection and discussion. Be prepared to commit to an intense week of learning, hard work, fun and an enriching experience!
HOW DO YOUR STUDENTS BENEFIT?
California's K-12 students are ultimately the audience for the knowledge gained by FIT participants. Teachers will be able to share their understanding of forest ecology and natural resource management principles and concepts with their students, helping to prepare the decision-makers of tomorrow. Each FIT participant develops a classroom curriculum that integrates conceptual learning about forests and forest manage-ment practices from a balanced perspective.
Using a forest ecosystem theme, students will learn essential concepts and practice critical thinking skills by exploring topics such as the effects of forest management and resource extraction, multiple-use of public lands, and consumer demands for forest products. Many ideas for hands-on learning experiences and action-oriented student and class projects are discussed.
AT FIT, PARTICIPANTS CAN:
Gain an increased understanding and appreciation of California's forest ecosystems and the complex issues involved in managing the natural resources found in public and private forests.
Receive an introduction to forest science concepts through presentations by practicing natural resource professionals.
Acquire a better understanding of environmental education concepts through information and experiences presented by natural resource and educational specialists.
Participate in discussions on the varying perspectives regarding forestry issues with forest resource specialists, environmentalists and members of local communities.
Use a variety of exemplary lessons and activities that promote conceptual learning, critical thinking and decision-making skills.
Develop a curriculum project about forests or forestry for their classrooms. Participants use recommendations and guidelines of the California Department of Education's subject area standards as well as their district's requirements for a course of study linked to environmental education.
Receive environmental education curriculum materials keyed to the state subject area standards and curriculum frameworks.
Receive a Forestry Curriculum Resource Guide.
Have access to a wealth of resource materials such as videos, literature, and personnel when developing a curriculum project.