The Grade 7 students learned SO much today during a forestry presentation by KPDSB Special Assignment Teacher, Kathy Boone. As a final component of our study of ecosystems (and specifically the Boreal Forest), Ms. Boone presented information related to forests (both the Boreal Forets and other forests around the world). Students began the presentation by brainstorming the components of forests. Some of the identified components were deciduous trees, soil, rocks, water, air, herbivorous plants, reptiles, mammals, shrus, fungus and mirco-organisms! (How did they come up with micro-organisms? Did I teach them that? 🙂 ).
Another activity had the students identifying various specific plants in terms of their possible uses (for example how moss was once used for wound dressings, labrador tea can be made into a salve to repel bugs and birch bark to make containers). This helped students to broaden their understanding of the uses of forest organisms. I could see the movement from, “We use forests for paper.” to “What!?! We use forests for THAT?”. It was enlightening for them to see the diverse resource that our forests are.
One of the key questions Ms Boone asked was, “Are our forests sustainable?” After clarifying what sustainable meant 😦 , Ms. Boone was able to show students how wise management and ecosystem awareness can ensure that our forests will be here for centuries to come.
As a final exercise, the students were able to examine the many career paths that relate to the world’s forests. As I think about this group of diverse students that fill my classroom day after day, I’m sure one (or more othan one) will follow a path related to environmental stewardship.
A big thank you is extended to Ms. Boone for sharing her expertise with the Grade 7s (and ME!). We will try to entice her into next year’s Boreal Forest Field Trip!