ACES Forest Education
Through education, we connect people to forests. For both locals and visitors to the Roaring Fork Valley understanding, local ecosystems can form a connection to the watershed. For local students, we incorporate and forest education into our school curriculum. For visitors, we offer forest education programs ranging from an hour to an entire day.
In first and fourth grade students learn about the dynamic nature of forests. In first grade, they delve into the many ways forests can change. Students learn that forests are constantly changing and can identify what causes forest change.
In fourth grade, we focus on forest succession. We go beyond what causes change and examine how changes interact across the landscape. We start by learning how new forest form following a disturbance such as a wildfire or an avalanche. We follow these forests as they become old growth and beyond when a disturbance starts the cycle again.
In middle school, the Forest Health Index (FHI) is used to teach life zones and data analysis. Using the graphs and data from the FHI students are able to critically assess what changes in things like temperature or snowpack mean for plants and wildlife.
For adults, we continue to offer a weekly “Know Your Trees Walk” during summer months. This year we also offered a day-long class “The Stories Told by Trees”. Participants took tree cores and examined the rings for records of precipitation, droughts, and fire.