Bringing the forest to the teachers

ForestLearning teamed up with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, HQPlantations and AKD Softwoods to directly engage with more than 100 high school teachers at the 2019 Food, Fibre and Agricultural Educators Conference in Brisbane. The response from participants bodes well for the future.

The conference, an initiative of AgForce’s School to Industry Partnership Program (SIPP), is the largest of its kind held in Queensland. It provides professional development for teachers and assistants interested in agriculture, science and technology.

During the four-day conference, ForestLearning’s education program manager, Beth Welden, and the team provided teaching and learning resources for classrooms and demonstrated the renewable forest and wood product cycle to teachers.

“The feedback from teachers was overwhelmingly positive,” said Beth “The combination of teaching resources and hands-on experience really developed their confidence and enthusiasm to share their understanding of the sustainable forests and wood products with their students.”

On the first day, ForestLearning provided free teacher packs and learning tools, such as the new Tree Carbon Storage tape measure. The next day the teachers visited the Salisbury Wood Science Research Facility, where innovations in wood engineering and infrared spectrometry were demonstrated. A practical activity in tree identification and volume calculations led to a session on the timber certification process.

The third day included an excursion to a softwood mill to learn about the renewable timber resource story, from plantation to mill. Attendees then heard from AKD’s cadets and apprentices about career opportunities in the timber industry, which gave them useful insights to pass on to the potential timber workers among their student cohorts.

The last day reinforced how well the forest and wood industries’ activities fitted in with the science curriculum and the plethora of classroom resources available from ForestLearning.

Beth said she was thrilled when one teacher told her: “I love trees and I love wood — now I feel I can use it and know it’s OK for the planet. I can’t wait to share this with my students.”

Find out more about FWPA’s educational initiative on the ForestLearning website.