New League Program Introduces Students to Magical Forests Among Them

Photo by Max Forster
Photo by Max Forster

“My favorite activity of the day was when we were finding the height and circumference of a tree of our choice. After we did that, we had some time left over at that station, so we want down to the river and we skipped rocks. That was SUPER fun!!”
 Sixth-grader at Toddy Thomas Middle School, Fortuna, Humboldt County

This quote is from a student who participated in the League’s new North Coast Redwood Education Program. This partnership with the Humboldt County Office of Education brings comprehensive redwood curriculum and field trip opportunities to students who live among California’s North Coast redwood forests. This school year, more than 670 junior high and high school students learned about redwood forests in their classrooms from a new, place-based curriculum, and then participated in a field trip to a local redwood state park. In the field, students collected forest data on tree biomass, carbon storage, and swordfern length. While hiking they were challenged to investigate plant biodiversity and collected phenology data.

In a recent survey of Humboldt County schools and teachers, the League found that less than 50 percent of respondents teach any redwood curriculum, and less than a quarter participate in a redwood field trip. With the need proven, we initiated opportunities for teachers and students to learn about and experience the redwoods, which are in the heart of their community.

 “What this does is help to build relevancy… it allows you to apply your learning and see it for yourself,” said Chris Hartley, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools.

With this program, our vision is to create a sustainable redwood education program for Humboldt County that will, eventually, be a model upon which we will build similar programs throughout the redwood range. Ultimately, our goal is to connect students across the state to a local redwood forest and provide teachers professional development, resources and knowledge surrounding redwood conservation and college-career readiness.

The charismatic redwood forest is the perfect location to engage students in science topics such as watersheds, ecosystems, biodiversity, and climate change, and provide an excellent foundation for cross-disciplinary studies.

Hear from the students themselves through this news clip. Curriculum can be found on our Redwood Curriculum website.

The new North Coast Redwood Education Program was launched with a generous grant from the S. H. Cowell Foundation with additional support provided by Save the Redwoods League, the Humboldt County Office of Education, and Humboldt State University.

For more information, please contact the Education and Interpretation Manager at [email protected] or 415-362-2352.

About the author

Deborah joined the League's staff in 2013 as the Education & Interpretation Manager. She brings with her extensive experience teaching science, developing curriculum and connecting kids to the natural world.

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