Forest for Every Classroom: Learning to Make Choices for the Future

“A Forest for Every Classroom turns your community into a classroom and helps nest curriculum in the wisdom of the living, breathing, ecological systems.” ~ Steve Glazer, Director of Poetics of Place and author.

A Forest for Every Classroom: Learning to Make Choices for the Future (FFEC), is an award-winning professional development program for K-12 teachers of all disciplines, offering stimulating, thought-provoking experiences designed to refresh your mind and passion for teaching! Across habitats and through the seasons, educators learn how to “read”—and teach—in the landscapes of Vermont from some of the best education and natural resource professionals in the state. They explore how using place-based learning and education for sustainability make the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards both more practical and meaningful.

This purpose of this year-long program is to foster a deeper understanding of New England forest stewardship issues, provide tools to develop place-based, service-learning curricula that meet current educational standards and use local landscapes, resources and community to connect classroom learning to real world application. Throughout the course, participants will be asked to apply their learning in the classroom, share out, and reflect on their experiences with their fellow coursemates.  Educators may earn up to five graduate credits from Castleton State College for the successful completion of the Forest for Every Classroom program. 

FFEC is based on an approach to teaching and learning called place-based education (PBE). PBE helps students learn about and connect to their place through real-world field experiences and on-going classroom work. Over the course of the year, participants will integrate hands-on natural and cultural explorations into curriculum to address concepts in ecology, sense of place, stewardship, and civics. At the heart of FFEC is the belief that students who are immersed in the interdisciplinary study of their place will be more eager to learn about and be involved in the stewardship of their communities and surrounding lands. Educators may earn up to five graduate credits from Castelton State College for the successful completion of the Forest for Every Classroom program. FFEC is offered in partnership with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Green Mountain National Forest, and the Stewardship Institute


Course Goals

  • Help educators transfer and translate sustainability concepts, including climate change, from the forest and public land to their curriculum, instruction, and life.
  • Help educators to effectively use place-based service learning and education for sustainability  as an integrative curricular context to make the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards more practical and meaningful.

Course Expectations

  1. Participate in ALL workshops and  sessions and complete all course assignments.
  2. Strong support from your school administrator or supervisor.
  3. Develop a place-based teaching unit or curriculum integration plan which utilizes local resources, addresses education for sustainability goals,  incorporates the forest, and meets the requirements of your school.
  4. Share your work and ideas with other educators during the course and during the year after the course as you implement your Forest for Every Classroom program.

2019-20 Dates

  • August 5-8, 2019: Woodstock, VT, The Shire and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
  • Nov 1 & 2, 2019: Lyme, NH, Dowd’s Country Inn and Event Center and the Appalachian Trail 
  • Jan 24 & 25, 2020: North Sutton, NH, The Follansbee Inn and Kezar Lake, Wadleigh State Park
  • April 3 & 4, 2020: Shelburne, VT, Shelburne Farms

Fees and Mini Grants

The program fee for 2019-2020 is $600. For Upper Valley teachers the course fee is $200 due to grant funding. Scholarships are available, please indicate if you are requesting a scholarship in the application. Requesting a scholarship in no way impacts your application or acceptance into the program. Optional 5 graduate credits through Castleton University is charged separately. Lodging and meals will likely be covered, but is dependent on grant funding (to be determined by February 19, 2019).

During the course, you will have  an opportunity to apply for a $200 mini-grant to support your Forest for Every Classroom projects and work with students.

How to Apply

Please complete the online application and e-mail a letter of support from your school administrator or supervisor to [email protected] before February 19, 2019. Applications received afterwards will be reviewed on a rolling basis. For more information, contact [email protected].

A Forest for Every Classroom is offered in alternating years with A Watershed for Every Classroom (through partnership with the Champlain Basin Education Initiative - CBEI). 


“This program elevated my teaching to a whole new level. It was enormously educational and inspirational; and at the same time, lots of fun. One of the most unique and valuable features of FFEC is the opportunity for learning and networking with other teachers never ends. FFEC feels like a group of friends working together to fulfill their common passion for place-based education.” ~ Lindsay Putnam, Marion Cross School

“After ten years teaching sixth grade in Pomfret, Vermont, I knew I could do better. I took to heart the adage, “It’s not so important what the teacher does, what is important is what the student does.”Still, while my teaching incorporated a host of “hands-on” units, the amount of time children were engaged in truly authentic learning was sporadic. I was ripe for change when a flyer came my way advertising A Forest For Every Classroom (FFEC) - a teacher development course sponsored by Shelburne Farms, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park, the National Wildlife Foundation, Conservation Study Institute and the Green Mountain National Forest. Most of us can point to some chance meeting that changes us. This was such an event for me. I knew it was time to relearn, and teach, the values of wind, water, soil, and sun. In short, FFEC moved me to really do so.” ~ Rob Hanson, The Pomfret School