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Why it matters

Place-based education may sound like a neat concept, but does it work? How do teachers, struggling to meet state standards and the test-based rigors of modern education, justify place-based education to administrators, or vice versa? What do students and teachers actually gain? And how do you create high quality professional development opportunities, programs or curriculum?

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Montana's Forest for Every Classroom

A Place-Based Professional Development Workshop Series “Public lands have tremendous potential to contribute to education and quality of life in our communities. If we can get young people thinking about not only the future of their parks and forests but also the future of their local communities, that’s the beginning of lifelong learning, and it is also cultivating stewardship.” Nora Mitchell, Director, Conservation Study Institute. A Common Vision Today’s students will become responsible citizens if they understand the places in which they live, and if they have educational opportunities based on real life issues that encourage them to be stewards of their own communities. Inspired by a common vision of students learning from and caring for public lands, the Helena National Forest, Montana Discovery Foundation, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the Elkhorns Working Group have joined efforts to create A Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC). FFEC is a professional development program for educators focused on place-based education. Teachers who participate in FFEC develop curriculum that foster student understanding of and appreciation for the public lands in their communities. The teacher-developed curricula integate hands-on natural and cultural exlplorations that address concepts in ecology, sense of place, stewards, and civics. At the heart of the FFEC program is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of “place” are more eager to learn and be involved in the stewardhip of their communities and public lands.


Helena, Montana


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