ForestLearning – Engaging Educational Resources and Engaging with Industry in 2023
12 December 2023
ForestLearning, an initiative of FWPA, has continued to empower and equip educators and students to learn about forests, forestry, and wood products with the launch of new educational resources. By offering a diverse range of education tools and lessons that cater to various learning styles and subject areas, ForestLearning works towards ensuring that the importance and values of forests, wood products, and sustainable forest management are widely understood and appreciated.
ForestLearning, recorded yet another impactful year with fourteen exciting new teaching and learning resources released, and even greater engagement and collaboration with educators, and the forest and wood products industry.
Learn more about the achievements of ForestLearning in 2023, new resources, and how ForestLearning can support you to engage with your local schools by clicking here.
Brand New Resources Launched:
Continuing to fill the gaps in forest and wood educational resources, ForestLearning released a variety of new resources aligned with the new Australian curriculum. Some of these resources have gone on to be our most popular of the year!
- Geography: Year 8 Forest Landscapes of Australia and the world
- Design and Technologies: Year 7-8 Thinking Outside the Box: The Sustainable Seating Project with Cardboard
- Cardboard Construction Techniques – with Banyule Nillumbik Tech School
- Australian Forest Sounds PPT for Classrooms
- Australian Forest Tour (360-degree photo tour)
- Forest Landscapes of the World Photo Tour
- ForestVR – Short Activity: Create a Virtual Reality Headset
- PIEFA e-learning Primezone Academy Lessons for the following subject areas:
- Agriculture Studies:
- Design and Technologies
- Earth and Environmental Science
- PIEFA National Ag Day resources
All these resources and more are freely available on the ForestLearning website. More resources are due for release in 2024 so make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you’re the first to know when they’re released.
The Travelling ForestVR Loan Kit:
From the Careers in Forestry Expo in Albany, Western Australia to the Lismore Show with Hurfords Hardwood in New South Wales, the loanable ForestVR headsets are a fantastic way to showcase real forests and wood production at any event in an innovative and tech-rich way to engage youth.
ForestVR is an award-winning educational virtual-reality tool developed by ForestLearning that includes a suite of immersive videos and 360-degree photos that allow students to venture into different forest types and follow the journey from seed to shelter all without leaving the comfort of their classroom.
While the VR videos can be used without a dedicated headset (accessible via YouTube using a mouse to view the 360-degree video environment), the experience is far more immersive with a VR headset. Virtual-reality headsets can be an expensive investment for a stand-alone event, so ForestLearning has acquired several headset loan kits available for industry to loan; you only pay for shipping. We’ve recently added to our stock of headsets available to loan with an updated model as well.
We encourage ForestLearning Industry Champion Volunteers to take advantage of these headsets to enrich their presentations in schools and at industry events.
Chief Executive Officer, Adele Farina of the Forest Industries Federation of Western Australia said of the ForestVR headsets being used at the Albany Agricultural Show: “The virtual reality headsets were a huge hit with young and old and a great draw card to the stall.”
Contact us to check their availability for your next event.
Teaching about Forest Education with Presentations to Industry:
ForestLearning’s engagement with the forest and wood products industry is pivotal in ensuring that our educational resources are built on accurate, fact-based information. It also plays a crucial role in facilitating the industry’s awareness of the robust education resources and tools freely available at their disposal to partner and present effectively with local schools.
The reduction in the duplication of effort is also key to ensuring that the current limited resources available in the industry to engage with schools are used effectively and as widely as possible.
Throughout the year, the ForestLearning Program Manager has strived to keep industry members and stakeholders informed to help strengthen the bond and opportunities to partner between education and the industry.
- Victorian Forest Products Association,
- Regional Forestry Hub National meeting,
- Murray Darling Regional Forestry Hub,
- Northern NSW Workforce planning working group,
- Northern NSW Regional Forestry Hub Workforce Working Group, and
- Central West Regional Forestry Hub.
Knowledge Shared with FWPA members and Forestry Education Committees and Working Groups:
Collaboration with industry education and workforce committees and working groups has proven to be an essential component of success. This collaboration not only enables the sharing of successes and working models from various regions across the country but also serves as a foundation for enhancing activities and partnerships in schools while also minimizing the duplication of effort and expense.
In particular, ForestLearning would like to thank:
- The Primary Industries Education Foundation of Australia (PIEFA) member working group,
- The Committee of the Future Forestry Education (COFFE),
- The Northeast NSW Regional Forestry Hub Workforce Development Action Plan Steering Group, and
- The Forest Works Workforce Training Program Scoping Study.
With the shared experience of these committees and working groups, ForestLearning have forged meaningful partnerships and contributed to the continuous improvement of forest and wood product education. In the future, we hope to continue this cooperation and progress forestry education to even greater heights.
A Wrap-Up of ForestLearning at Events
National Association of Agricultural Educators NAAE Australia Conference
ForestLearning exhibited and presented 4 workshops at the 2023 National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference in January, attended by a large and passionate group of agriculture teachers willing to give up some of their well-earned holidays to attend.
Connecting with agriculture teachers was a fantastic way to start the year and was a valuable opportunity to share some of our award-winning resources such as the ForestVR Agroforestry and other video series, as well as unpack some of the practical and hands-on tools for the classroom such as the Tree Carbon Tape Measure – one of our most popular teaching tools.
ForestLearning also presented a series of four workshops showcasing the role of trees on farms, including agroforestry, in schools and the opportunity to help students relate their local environments to content taught in classrooms.
ForestLearning representatives were delighted to attend the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) 2023 conference in Canberra in May. This event offered a rich opportunity to chat with teachers from across Australia during the ForestLearning workshops and at its trade stand.
“We were pleased to share details of ForestLearning’s many curriculum-aligned tools and resources which are freely available to teachers, and take a focus on wood, sustainability, carbon, and forests,” ForestLearning Program Manager Beth Welden said.
The two workshops were held in conjunction with Responsible Wood Sustainability Manager Matt De Jongh and Australian Forest Products Association Climate Manager Natasa Sikman. Attendees heard how the forestry sector not only meets Australia’s timber and fibre needs, but also considers the biodiversity and other environmental impacts of its activities to ensure the protection of forest health and resilience for today and future generations.
“Without maintaining the health of these landscapes, the sector itself will not survive,” Welden said.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Conference – Vancouver
Also in May, Beth Welden, ForestLearning’s Program Manager, attended the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Conference 2023 in Vancouver, Canada, where industry leaders, educators, and environmentalists discussed sustainable forestry practices, education, and the intersection of conservation and forestry.
This conference facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experiences among international forest education programs, including Project Learning Tree (PLT) in the USA and Canada. Beth’s attendance aimed to foster collaborations and adapt high-quality international forest education resources for the Australian curriculum.
Discussions were initiated to establish an international forestry education consortium to enhance collaboration among organizations like ForestLearning, PLT, and the International Forestry Students Association.
“ForestLearning’s presence at this important international event resulted in valuable insights and outcomes. We aimed to cultivate the sharing and licensing of high-quality international forest education resources so they can be adapted for the Australian curriculum and contexts for our teachers to use in their classrooms,” Beth said.
In June, ForestLearning had the opportunity to exhibit and hold a series of workshops at the 2023 Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Queensland’s annual conference. The conference was the perfect place to launch the year 7 & 8 design and technology resource “Thinking Outside the Box: The Sustainable Seating Project” which has gone on to become one of our most popular resources.
The series of workshops covered a range of topics, introducing design and technology teachers to concepts such as the sustainability credentials of wood as material, wood’s part in circular economy in the classroom and beyond and were an opportunity to showcase some of the great, free resources available to educators by ForestLearning.
ForestLearning was proud to attend the Forestry Australia and New Zealand Institute of Forestry (ANZIF) conference in August featuring a workshop titled “Growing the Next Gen Together: Showcasing Forest Industry-School Partnerships & Tools.”
This event brought together forestry industry experts to discuss efforts to enhance forest education in schools and workforce development in Australia. Joined by key organisations; Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA), Timber Queensland, Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub Workforce Development, and Responsible Wood, who highlighted their initiatives to bridge the gap between the industry and schools.
The workshop showcased the importance of teaching resources and school activities in educating students about forests, carbon, and nature-based solutions, including the use of wood as a renewable and sustainable material.
The ForestLearning program was highlighted for providing Australian Curriculum-aligned teaching and learning resources. The workshop concluded by urging collaborative efforts between the industry and schools to maintain momentum in forest education and industry partnership development.
Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Victoria Conference
To round out the year, ForestLearning attended the Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Victoria’s (DATTAVic) 2023 conference in December with a trade stand and a workshop.
Attendees were able to get hands on with ForestLearning resources including ForestVR, the Sustainable Seating Project and walked away with all the Teacher Packs we brought to the conference that were filled with teaching tools to assist them in teaching about forests and wood products.
Like kindred spirits, design and technology teachers often share ForestLearning’s enthusiasm and love for forests and wood products. Their interest in learning more about sustainably sourced timber shone through, which led to many new connections and friends within the design and technology subject area.
Design and technology teachers can look forward to a brand-new year 5-6 resource being released very soon!