ForestLearning Takes the Renewable Forest and Wood Cycle Story to Agricultural Educators
ForestLearning in January had the rewarding task of communicating, through trade displays, bus tours and workshops, the renewable forest and wood cycle to over 100 high school teachers from around Australia. The occasion was the AgForce School to Industry Partnership Program’s “Food, Fibre and Agricultural Educators Conference”, 13-17 January in Brisbane.
Using hands-on and face-to-face experiences to promote free downloadable teaching and learning resources on the ForestLearning website (www.forestlearning.edu.au), will help to inform and enable teachers to feel confident in delivering this great context for learning in classrooms.
Day one of the conference saw teachers access free teacher packs and hands-on learning tools, such as the new Tree Carbon Storage Tape Measure, from the ForestLearning trade display that formed part of the broader Primary Industries Education Foundation display table. Timber Queensland representatives were also on hand to meet teachers and share the Queensland timber story.
On day two, ForestLearning hosted teachers on a bus tour to the DAF Queensland Salisbury Wood Science Research Facility where innovations in wood engineering and infrared spectrometry was demonstrated. David Menzies, from Private Forest Services Queensland, lead teachers through a hands on practical demonstration of forest management skills, such as tree identification and volume calculations. This provided a backdrop to the wood processing science taking place at DAF Salisbury and demonstrated that sourcing wood responsibly, and forest management is underpinned by science. Responsible Wood was also present during the day and explained the certification process in Australia to teachers, and how consumers can be confident that certified wood is sustainably managed and harvested.
On day three ForestLearning partnered with AKD’s Caboolture softwood mill, HQPlantations and Responsible Wood to tell the renewable timber resource story from plantation to mill. 24 teachers attended the excursion, during which they toured the expansive AKD softwood mill, learning more about the innovations, automation, technologies and diversity of careers within timber processing. During lunch, attendees heard about other diverse and exciting training and career opportunities in the timber industry, delivered by AKD’s own passionate and positive current cadets and apprentices. Responsible Wood discussed the benefits of certified wood and the process behind certification in Austrailia and the reasons why we as consumers need to be conscious purchasers of certified wood products. They encouraged teachers to explore wood and paper products in the classroom to determine if they are certified.
As a demonstration of the certification process, the busload of teachers then traced the logs entering the sawmill to nearby HQPlantations pine forests, from where they had been sourced, to learn more about the science, planning, fire responses and management practices behind the production of the sustainable timber in the plantation.
The fourth and final day was a chance for ForestLearning to allow teachers a first hand experiences of the forest and wood cycle on the tours, and demonstrate how they can use this new knowledge in teaching Australian Curriculum Outcomes across subject areas and year levels. Teachers were given the opportunity to unpack some of the newly produced ForestLearning teaching resources incorporating science research, hands on ideas and activities, lesson plans and student resources to improve student learning experiences.
Ku Lacey from Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, an Expert Writing Panel member of the new 2019 Agricultural Science Curriculum in Queensland, outlined the benefits of using ForestLearning teaching and learning resources in the classroom. Ku, who has aligned the ForestLearning resources (see http://forestlearning.edu.au/find-a-resource/article/83/queensland-2019-agriculture-syallbus-alignment-with-forestlearning-resources.html?session=1) to the new Queensland Agriculture syllabus, outlined and showcased a week’s unit of work for year 11 teachers who were very excited to receive prepared lessons for their new school year. Responsible Wood also outlined further benefits of forest and wood certification, with teachers left in no doubt of the benefits of buying certified wood products.
At the conclusion of the workshop, one teacher exclaimed “I love trees and I love wood – I feel I can now use it and know that it is ok for the planet! I can’t wait to share this with my students!”.
If you are planning a teacher conference and would like to involve ForestLearning, please contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org