Orienting Teachers for Woodland Career Focus

The July 28 Bangor [Maine] Daily News profiles the four-day professional development workshop which the Maine TREE Foundation and Project Learning Tree have co-hosted since 1998, to provide teachers in the state with the insights they need to help students assess career opportunities in forest-related work. Part of the message is to stress the place of academic skills in woods work—in road construction or harvest planning—and to dispel the perception that it is primarily physical labor: “We need their hearts and their minds. We don’t need muscle anymore,” notes one logging cooperator. This message is important for teachers, as it is for the potential workforce.

The article also suggests that the workshop—largely conducted in the woods—can be helpful in breaking down teachers’ prejudices about forest management’s environmental impacts, in that it demonstrates the extent of planning that underlies forest operations. “In any harvest, we’re balancing the biology, the economics, personal relationships—and the interests of the landowner are top priority,” comments a presentor.