Speak for the Trees is currently working to expand our youth education outreach programs with a 6th-8th grade urban forest curriculum focused on how to identify and measure trees, as well as learn about their benefits in an urban ecosystem. This is primarily a science-based curriculum with standards alignment, some interdisciplinary elements, and a theme of Tree Equity.
The goals of the curriculum include:
- Growing student’s confidence and observational skills in outdoor spaces
- Connecting students with the urban ecosystems around them
- Meshing students’ scientific studies with environmental justice.
The lesson plans so far include “Ecosystems Connections,” “Benefits of Trees,” and “Tree ID & iTree.”
In the “Ecosystems Connections” lesson, students will observe how urban trees interact with other organisms and categorize the interactions as competitive, predatory, parasitic, or mutually beneficial. Students will learn about the environmental, economic, and social benefits of trees in urban environments, such as energy savings, stormwater runoff reduction, and air quality improvement and test the cooling effects of trees through an experiment in the “Benefits of Trees” lesson. The “Tree ID & iTree” lesson explores basic tree identification, how to measure a tree, and how students can use that information to calculate the monetary and quantifiable benefits of trees through the iTree program.
If this sounds like something you or a teacher you know would want to be involved in, we are looking for teachers in Boston to give input on needs in an outdoor curriculum, partner with to design the curriculum, or pilot the curriculum in their classrooms this fall. Please reach out to Natalie Merline at [email protected].