So much of who we are is the result of our early education. Our National Forests are a source of wonder and an inspiration for young imaginations. While experiencing the forest in person is wonderful way to learn about our public lands (and connect with our kids), there are also many great online tools for students to study our forests from home or in the classroom. As young students learn more about the complexity and beauty of the natural world, both in their National Forests and in their own back yards, they are better prepared to act as stewards of the earth for the rest of their lives. Sharing an appreciation of nature now with our children can have an impact on our shared future. Combine one of these exercises with a slow walk in a nearby park or other natural environment for maximum impact! Something everyone can benefit from. Here are some links to web pages that include online activities, games, videos and other ways to learn about the natural world and our National Forests.
Links to Online Forest & Nature Learning Activities
STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST
It’s never to early to start planning your next visit to the forest. Although in-person visitor programs had to be cancelled due to COVID-19, the Stanislaus National Forest has created a SELF-GUIDED VISITOR ACTIVITY PAGE with links to learning activities, self-guided tours, visitor resources, and link to mobile apps. The STANISLAUS LEARNING CENTER PAGE has links to information about a wide variety of topics including outdoor safety and activities like mountain biking, hunting, camping, and responsible recreation.
SMOKEY FOR KIDS
Wildland fire is on everyone’s mind, including the very young. The SMOKEY FOR KIDS web page helps elementary and middle school students start to understand and learn to prevent wildfires. The site includes content for students, teachers, and at-home educators. and includes games and activities emphasizing wildfire prevention.
Project WILD’s mission is to provide wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources. All their curriculum materials are backed by sound educational practices and theory, and represent the work of many professionals within the fields of education and natural resource management from across the country.
PROJECT WILD RESOURCES PAGE offers links to videos and articles on a wide variety of subjects for elementary and high school students as well as links to information about careers in related fields.
GROWING UP WILD includes content for wildlife education for Pre-Kindergarten students.
AQUATIC WILD has content that is focused on the aquatic environment.
FLYING WILD has standards based environmental education for middle-schoolers built around the study of birds.
USFS NATUREWATCH WEBSITE
NATUREWATCH is a partnership program of the U.S. Forest Service that features a variety of online resources, encouraging safe and sound outdoor ethics and contributes to local economies. You can use the site to find nature viewing opportunies based on your location or animals of interest. The NATUREWATCH FACEBOOK PAGE will keep you updated on the latest on children’s nature-based learning.
LEAVE NO TRACE
Leave No Trace works to help people care for the outdoors. Their website is a great place to learn about simple and effective ways to help visitors preserve and protect the forests we all share. Their 7 PRINCIPLES OF LEAVE NO TRACE is a great place to learn about minimizing our impact when visiting our public lands. LEAVE NO TRACE FOR EVERY KID is a program/website that helps young people learn how responsible actions help to protect the outdoors. Take some time to explore their activities page and video library.