Published: May 7, 2014
Ever wondered how to get your forest enrolled in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) School Forest Program? Edgewood Middle School's Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) class can provide the answer. Students and instructor Jim Bias initiated Beyond the Edge of the Woods, a class project last fall.
Hands-on learning, research and a commitment to creating and preserving a 15-acre piece of land grew into a plan that engaged not only the students, but the community, the district and area naturalists as well. The completed plan was presented to the school board and approved. Next the class partnered with DNR officials to enroll the forest into the School Forest Program.
Over the school year, the students have improved trails, installed houses for wood ducks and worked with volunteers to create an outdoor classroom. The Edgewood School Forest now offers many exciting educational opportunities and the DNR's school forest plan provides training, outdoor lessons that address state academic standards, free tree seedlings and resources and assistance to maintain the forest's long-term health.