Fifth graders at Roosevelt Elementary in Virginia and fourth graders at Bay View Elementary in Proctor have created two special displays that will be touring the country as part of the United Nations 2011 International Year of Forests.
The displays – called “Forest Boxes” – were created to showcase the unique characteristics of their outdoor classroom.
These boxes will be displayed at a variety of events across the country throughout 2011, including Washington, D.C., during a meeting on America’s forests and the role of environmental education.
Students collected leaves, cones, seeds, twigs, moss, beaver-chewed branches, and rocks and minerals. From these, they created field guides, drew and labeled scientific illustrations, and created maps. Students also snapped photos of the many ways they use their forests: maple syruping, water and ecosystem studies, nature journaling, and applied mathematics through measuring trees. They learned about current threats to forests, including invasive species, climate change, and changes in recreation.
The materials represent the benefits that derive from forests – like clean air, water, recreation and community enjoyment.
The International Year of Forests campaign is dedicated to raising awareness about the challenges facing the world’s forests today, promoting dialogue about forests and people, and calling to action much-needed forest conservation. It will also serve as motivation for others to help sustain and manage our forests for the future.