Sustainable Forestry Tour for Teachers and Counselors
The Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) was created in 1992 by an act of the Idaho Legislature. The purpose of the Commission is to “promote the economic and environmental welfare of the state by providing a means for the collection and dissemination of information regarding the management of the state’s public and private forest lands and the forest products industry.” IFPC provides a variety of statewide communications activities, educational programs and informational materials to educate specific audiences such as decision makers, educators and students as well as the general public about the need for proper forest management.
The Sustainable Forestry Tour was created by the Idaho Forest Products specifically for educators and counselors.
Through the Sustainable Forestry Tour, educators immerse themselves in the social, economic and ecological aspects of sustainable forestry. Once the educator arrives at the tour, s/he is treated as a VIP!
Teachers and school counselors of 3rd through 12th grades are invited to apply for the Tour. IFPC especially seeks those with emphasis in science, natural resources, vocational or agriculture education, economics and career counseling.
Teachers are immersed in sustainable forestry issues with valuable information and concepts to bring into their classrooms and counseling offices. During the 3-day program, educators may visit private, state and federal forests; tour a sawmill, paper mill, and seedling nursery; see an active timber harvesting operation, walk in forest stands of differing ages and see a firefighting demonstration.
Throughout the tour, they learn directly from the natural resource professionals who care for our forests, and those who provide products we all use every day. Educators leave with abundant information and resources to explore sustainable forestry and related careers with their students. The Program has had a 10 year successful participation rate as noted through positive feedback from attendees after completion of the tour.
Sponsors who cover travel, food and lodging expenses for the teachers for this 3-day program include private industrial landowners, logging contractors, forestry consultants and private individuals typically from all areas of the Inland Northwest.
Sustainable Forestry Tour Key Concepts
- Foresters manage large landscapes over long time horizons
- Nature is dynamic: everything is connected and constantly changing
- Sustainable forestry integrates social, economic, and ecological needs
- Foresters can manage for the reoccurrence of desirable outcomes
- We can meet our material needs while protecting forest ecosystems
- Trees capture & store carbon
- Regulations exist to protect water, air, soil, fish and wildlife
- Incentives are better than regulations
- We all need and use wood products
- Wood is an environmentally sound building material
- Forestry is capital intensive
- The highest technology is employed in the woods, mills and labs
- There is complete utilization of the resource
- Wood bioenergy produces less air pollution than fossil fuel energy
- The forest products industry is rich in career opportunities
- Educators have a special responsibility
- We all need to make informed choices
For forest facts (geared to adults or children), issues, workshops, to view or order materials and video’s, visit the Idaho Forest Products Commission website http://www.idahoforests.org.
Betty Munis is the Executive Director,
Idaho Forest Products Commission