"Public lands have tremendous potential to contribute to education and quality of life in our communities. If we can get young people thinking about not only the future of their parks and forest but also the future of their local communities, that's the beginning of lifelong learning, and it's also cultivating stewardship."
~ Nora Mitchell, Director, Conservation Study Institute (Retired)
A Common Vision
Today's students will become responsible citizens if they understand the places in which they live, and if they have educational opportunities based on real life issues that encourage them to be stewards of their own communities.
Inspired by a common vision of students learning from and caring for public lands, Shelburne Farms, the Conservation Study Institute, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the Green Mountain National Forest, and the Northeast Office of the National Wildlife Federation joined efforts to create A Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC).
Innovation Through Collaboration
FFEC's unique partnership of public and private organizations is a model for how collaboration can increase the effectiveness of organizations to serve communities, enhance educational outreach, and protect public lands. An independent assessment of the FFEC program reported that the strengths of the program include:
- Demonstrating best practices in place-based education
- Cultivating an understanding of public lands and the local community
- Offering diverse and balanced perspectives about public lands issues
- Developing relationships with teachers through sustained professional support Fostering connections between the school, community, and resource specialists
- Enhancing the role of public and private organizations as community resources
- Fostering students as active participants in the care of public lands through service learning activities