Improving Outdoor Classrooms for Education and Recreation

Thanks to generous funding by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), our Youth Outdoors program is adding a School and Community Forest Crew this year. A School Forest is an outdoor classroom where students learn and apply math, art, science, language arts and social studies while gaining an appreciation and awareness of natural resources. School Forests benefit students by making lessons more relevant by using real-world situations, reach students through hands-on learning, encourage physical activity and improve student health, increase creativity, self-esteem and motivation.

Currently, the School Forest Program supports 130 sites across Minnesota ranging in size from a quarter acre to more than 300 acres. These outdoor classrooms serve communities with high cultural and socio-economic diversity in both rural and urban locations. Each School Forest is unique, with physical features ranging from pine plantations to prairies to small manicured wood lots. Conservation Corps crews across Minnesota will connect with sites to complete site management plans, lead environmental education activities and provide training.

This new crew, working with the Department of Natural Resources, will make possible this year:

  • Renovation of 60 School Forests to improve the quality of outdoor education experiences.
  • Getting 3,000 students outdoors through hands-on activities and relevant, integrated curricula.
  • Educate 360 school staff (teachers, administration, and maintenance) and community members with knowledge and skills in sustainable outdoor classroom management