After completing a climate change unit, middle school students from Sedomocha and Piscataquis Secondary School were excited to see what they could do in their local communities. Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Director of Maine Conservation and Land Management, Steve Tatko, joined students for a day in the life of a Forester. Students explored their school’s nature trails and learned about sustainable forest management, including how to measure trees! The day concluded with students interviewing a forester and then taking the “Find your Green Job” Quiz provided by Project Learning Tree (PLT). This quiz allows students to explore the many Green Jobs that exist by matching their personalities and strengths with a career. Students were excited to see the many opportunities that exist to have a meaningful career right in their own backyard!
Green jobs, or careers that produce goods and services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, have been noted nationally and in Maine as one of the fastest-growing industries. The growth and impact of this industry make it crucial to introduce students to these purposeful opportunities during their primary education. To further stimulate the growth of the forestry industry, Project Learning Tree created the Green Jobs curriculum. From middle school through secondary education, the curriculum introduces students to different opportunities and careers within the green jobs industry. Stephany Perkins, who serves AMC as the Piscataquis County Youth Education Coordinator, is doing just that with her local middle schoolers.
Stephany has facilitated “Day in the Life of a Forester” excursions for 7th and 8th graders in partnership with AMC’s Director of Maine Conservation and Land Management, Steve Tatko. Stephany described the experience she and Steve created as an opportunity for the students to “explore their school’s nature trails and learn about sustainable forest management, including how to measure trees!”
The trip to the woods was combined with a climate change curriculum back in the classroom, which connected back to the student’s local communities and ecosystems. To help the students become aware of career opportunities in the forest, Stephany has the “students interview a forester and then take the [PLT] Find your Green Job Quiz.” The quiz allows students to explore the many green jobs by matching their personalities and strengths with a career. Students were excited to see the many opportunities that exist to have a meaningful career right in their own backyard!”
Creating meaningful connections for students between the forestry industry, opportunities available to them, and global concepts like climate change are foundational in our effort to enrich the next generation with the capacity to sustain and conserve our natural resources. Maine TREE is excited to expand the use of PLT’s Green Jobs curriculum in Maine to foster greater educational opportunities and awareness of the forest products and natural resources sectors among Maine’s students.