PLT Canada’s Forest Literacy Framework translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into concepts that everyone should know by the time they graduate from high school. The framework offers 100 forest concepts for Grades K-12, organized into four themes: What is a forest?, Why do forests matter?, How do we sustain our forests?, and What is our responsibility to forests?
The Forest Literacy Framework is designed to increase people’s understanding of forests and empower them to take actions that benefit forests and people. The framework translates the complex language of forests, trees, forest practices, and sustainable forest management into concepts that everyone should know by the time they graduate from high school.
Now more than ever, people are waking up to the fact that sustainably managed forests offer solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Forests mitigate climate change by capturing carbon from the atmosphere and wood products from forests store carbon. Forests help conserve species at risk by providing habitat. Forests also purify air and water and reduce the threat of droughts and floods.
Forests are renewable. They are reliable, regenerative, and restorative. Forests sustain communities and economies by supporting diverse career opportunities and driving economic activity. Providing recreational spaces and sustaining traditional resource uses and places for spiritual renewal are yet other areas where forests play an outsized role.
The Forest Literacy Framework represents a vision of forest literacy that was developed by educators, forest sector professionals, conservationists, and academics in the United States and Canada. It embodies a shared aspiration for what everyone should know about our forests.
The Forest Literacy Framework offers 100 forest concepts for Grades K-12 and young professionals, organized into four themes:
Each theme includes topics and concepts that address its central question. The themes and concepts build on each other, enabling individuals to progress from a basic awareness to a deeper understanding of forests.
The Forest Literacy Framework also offers suggestions to explore the following “Hot Topics,” which all relate to current events reliant on environmental concepts, all organized by grade level:
The Forest Literacy Framework provides a conceptual outline for those who educate young people in formal or nonformal settings, create education policy or curricula, or advocate for forests.
Critical thinking, complex systems, and cross-curricular connections are central to teaching and learning about forests and trees. Forest literacy is a truly interdisciplinary endeavor, with connections from social studies and mathematics to health and business, and many subjects in between.
Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada) believes in a society that values and benefits from sustainably managed forests and the great outdoors. We are committed to using trees and forests as windows on the world to inspire action and grow future forest and conservation leaders. Our environmental education and professional development services, which include high-value work experiences and an industry-leading mentorship program, support youth across Canada on their green career pathways, including those in rural, Indigenous and urban communities.
The panel represents a diverse mix of public and private interests, plus federal, state, and provincial, and we thank them for contributing their expertise.
Workforce Development Coordinator, Ontario Ministry of
Natural Resources and Forestry
Director of K-12 Education Oregon Forest Resource
Natural Resources Canada
Outreach and Education Forester Hancock Natural
Youth Program Coordinator,
Sustainable Development Goals & STEM Scouts Canada
Associate Professor of Urban Forestry University of
Responsible Materials Program Director Dovetail
Education & Certification Specialist Society of American
North American Association for Environmental Education
Sustainability Manager Westervelt
Executive Director of Forest Assets
NC State University, College of Natural Resources
Alabama PLT Coordinator and Alabama SIC Alabama
Conservation Education Coordinator, Eastern Region,
State and Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service
Conservation Education Coordinator Texas A&M Forest
Creator of The Virtual Leadership System™ and The
Leadership Nature Podcast™
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