With the passing of the Municipal Forest Act in 1931, schools across Michigan were deeded surplus forest land to be used for the benefit of students’ education and the wider community. As priorities and trends in education and society as a whole have shifted, many school forest properties have been neglected, largely underutilized and even forgotten by school districts. As community partners to schools, conservation organizations can play a vital role in re-connecting schools to the stewardship of these underutilized resources. In turn, full and sustained use of a school forest by educators and community organizations can create a new generation of conservationists with a sense of place and purpose from their experiences in a school forest. Case studies, best practices and resources for engaging with schools in the stewardship of their forest properties will be presented.
School Forests: Supporting Students and Teachers in the Stewardship of an Underutilized Resource