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A Little History on Trees for Tomorrow

01/25/2016 10:47 am

Curious About the Trees for Tomorrow Trip? Mr. Zwonitzer shares...

We've been going to Trees For Tomorrow since 1992. Jim Zanter ran across information on Trees For Tomorrow and thought that would be a good way to get kids interested in winter environmental education. I took it over the next year after Jim retired.

Trees for Tomorrow (TFT) is located in Eagle River, WI, right on the edge of town. It used to be a CCC camp back in the 1930's-1942. Reforestation of Northern Wisconsin was the main focus of this camp. Once the CCC ended, TFT took over with the same focus of replanting trees. Once the reforestation was complete, they changed their focus to education.
Our students go to a four-day environmental workshop to learn about forests, animals/adaptations, soils, and water, and how they are all interconnected. Students learn how to identify trees using a dichotomous key, how to measure trees, learn about succession, and the different ways to manage a forest based on who owns it and how it will be used. Students learn to cross country ski and snowshoe in order to move through the forests more efficiently while competing their study of the forest. They learn to identify animal tracks and infer what the animals were doing. 
In order to go on the trip, students must fill out an application which includes a couple of essays. They turn this in with only a number on the application and whether they are male or female. The 7th grade team reads them and selects their top 5 boy and 5 girl applications without knowing who the applicants are. Once selected, we check the sign up sheet where names and numbers are recorded and post the ten students selected.
In return for the trip, students must help teach their peers what they learned when we take all the 7th graders to the OEC in February. Peers teaching peers (with a little guidance) is very cool to watch. Its creative! Its innovative!
Dates for 7th graders going to the OEC are Feb. 10 and 11. Hope for snow!
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