How many fifth graders in South Carolina can tell you that for every tree harvested 5 more are planted in their place? How many can explain what a renewable resource is? How many students realize that products they use every day such as chewing gum and toothpaste come from trees? And how many will let you know that one of the main reasons why recycling is important is to conserve landfill space?
Thanks to South Carolina's first Wood Magic Forest Fair, hundreds of fifth grade students can now give you the answer to these and other questions about forestry in our state. In addition, teachers and chaperones also have an increased awareness of the importance of sustainable forestry. Wood Magic was a 4th-grade program but now has been updated and revised into a 5th-grade program that more-closely correlates to the SCDE standards.
Patterned after a program held annually at Mississippi State University, Wood Magic is jointly sponsored by the SC Forestry Association, the USDA Forest Service, and the SC Forestry Commission. The goal of the program is to teach kids how important forests and forest products are in their everyday lives. A key point made during this event was that through sustainable management we can enjoy the many benefits of a growing forest and can also harvest trees for the thousands of useful products that improve our quality of life. The goal was accomplished through a variety of hands-on activities led by forestry professionals from several organizations.
Wood Magic was funded in part by a one-time Natural Resource Conservation Education grant. Additional funds were provided by forest industry contributions to the South Carolina Forestry Foundation. Brochures describing the program were mailed to all elementary schools in South Carolina. With a limited number of class slots available, participants were selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Future expansion of this program will depend to a large extent on our ability to obtain adequate funding.
Teacher surveys and student follow-up quizzes have indicated that the Fair was a huge success. Teachers were thankful for the well-organized way in which the day's events flowed, and were very appreciative of the lesson plans and all of the other materials they were given. Through repetition, the students took away several key points. As one parent stated, "They got it!"
Take a walk through a day at SC's Wood Magic Forest Fair. See for yourself how much fun learning about forests and forest products can be.
SC's WOOD MAGIC FOREST FAIR
The purpose of the Wood Magic Forest Fair is to provide information to students and their teachers about the sustainable management of forest resources and the role of forests and forest products in their daily lives.
Upon completion of the WMFF program, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an awareness that our society depends on forests for many products we use every day and that these products improve our quality of life.
- Explain the difference between renewable and non-renewable natural resources and apply the reduce-reuse-recycle principles of conservation.
- Recognize that many different management techniques are required to insure long-term sustainability of our forests.
- Describe the many environmental, social, and economic benefits of our forests.
Teachers are sent the Pre-visit Packet with lessons to prepare their students for Wood Magic. Students also take a short pre-test to assess their knowledge about sustainable forestry, ecology, and conservation.
Each class is met by a guide, who leads them to each station. Before the introduction a class picture is taken and students have an opportunity to go to the restroom.
Two to three classes at a time assemble in the conference room of the education center. Students are introduced to the concept that they use forest products every day. They watch a video which is followed by a short period of questions and answers.
IV. Board Cuttin'
Students learn how lumber is made by watching an old-fashioned sawmill cut boards out of a log. Students see a planer and an edger, feel bark and sawdust, and discuss other products.
V. Bad Fire, Good Fire
Students see a "short" fire tower and a prescribed burned area. The instructor leads them in a discussion of wildfire and foresters' use of prescribed fire (wildlife habitat, hazard reduction, competition reduction, regeneration). Students dress up in firefighting clothes.
VI. Gifts of the Forest
The instructor leads them in a discussion of the many benefits of forests (wildlife habitat, soil & water quality protection, air & noise filtering, recreation, social benefits, and economic benefits including jobs). Through playing a game, students see the interrelationships of forest plants and animals and man.
VII. Makin' Paper
The instructor asks them questions about garbage, discusses landfill problems and how recycling paper can help. Each student recycles toilet tissue by breaking it up in water, screening it, and drying it.
VIII. Magic Show (Conclusion)
Through the use of sleight-of-hand, students are taught that you cannot always believe everything you see or hear. Through the use of student "volunteers" they come to an under- standing of how long it takes trees to grow and how many different forest products they use every day. The magic show concludes with "Blowing Bubbles," a demonstration of how air can pass through red oak wood. The instructor dips the wood in a soapy solution and blows bubbles, demonstrating a fun use of wood.
IX. Teacher Packets
Teachers are given an Educator's Guide to the Wood Magic Forest Fair which contains several PLT lessons, a lesson plan to go along with "Blowing Bubbles," and other information on trees and forestry. Also included in the teacher packets are resource materials that teachers can use to further teach their students about the importance of the environment, the value of wood products, and the need for balance in using trees. Students as well as teachers also receive Wood Magic T-shirts, activity books, rulers, pencils, and other goodies from the forest.
South Carolina's Wood Magic Forest Fair is jointly sponsored by SC Tree Farm Committee, Georgia Pacific,SC Division of Appalachian Society of American Foresters, SC Sustainable Forestry Initiative Member Companies, the South Carolina Forestry Association, the USDA Forest Service, and the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or religion. Direct all inquiries to the Office of Human Resources, P.O. Box 21707, Columbia, S.C. 29221.
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