Educators learn about forest industry
Forty teachers from all over Florida convened in Fernandina Beach and other areas throughout Northeast Florida for the 2018 Florida Forestry Teachers Tour.
It gave teachers the opportunity to look at the roles of Florida’s forest industry.
“There are more than 5,000 products that come from Florida forests and the industry supports thousands of jobs and communities,” said Florida Forest Service Jacksonville District Manager Jennifer Hart. “Every part of the tree is utilized in some way and each year more trees are planted than harvested, ensuring this valuable renewable resource will be available for future generations. We want educators to see that sustainability is the key to responsible forestry.”
Tour stops highlighted the many facets of the forest industry from the small family tree farm to large industrial operations. In Clay County, teachers visited Jennings State Forest for a prescribed fire demonstration and traveled to a small family owned tree farm and Camp Blanding to learn about ongoing conservation efforts.
In Nassau County, teachers visited Rayonier Forest Resources property for presentations on tree genetics, timber volume measurements and harvesting. The papermaking process was detailed at the West Rock papermill and box plant in Fernandina Beach.
In Duval County, teachers visited the West Fraser Saw Mill in Whitehouse and the Symrise chemical plant to learn how papermaking byproducts are used to produce flavorings and scents for thousands of products manufactured throughout the world.
The tour also went to Alachua County to visit Austin Cary Memorial Forest and learn about Project Learning Tree curriculum and forestry career paths from the University of Florida.
Teachers received a variety of educator materials and lesson plan ideas that they can incorporate in the classroom. All meals and lodging were provided and teachers earned 30 continuing education units for their time.
The annual tour is made possible through sponsorships from the forest industry, private citizens, landowners, the Florida Forest Service and others.
To participate in the 2019 Florida Forestry Teacher’s Tour or to make a donation to the program, visit http://floridaforest.org/programs/teachers-tour.