PORTLAND, Ore. May 27, 2010. Students will
take their learning and outdoor experiences to new heights on the
H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, thanks to an award from the USDA
Forest Service. The competitive award, formally announced by Agriculture
Secretary Tom Vilsack, is one of only 21 issued to conservation
education programs across the country as part of the “More
Kids in the Woods” challenge, which promotes active lifestyles
and connects children to nature by funding conservation education
“ If we are going to put an end to childhood obesity, we
must promote healthy, active lifestyles and encourage our kids
to get off the couch and go outside,” Vilsack said, in his
announcement of the recipients. “‘More Kids in the
Woods’ helps kids make the connection between healthy forests,
healthy communities, and their own healthy lifestyles.”
The H.J. Andrews-based program, known as “Canopy Connections,” annually
hosts about 100 students from primarily underserved middle schools
in the Eugene-Springfield communities of Oregon. One of more than
130 programs considered as part of the competitive challenge, it
was selected for its ability to provide students with opportunities
for quiet observation time, creative writing, and art and science
inquiries that are centered on personal, guided ascents 70 feet
into the forest’s old-growth Douglas-fir canopy.
“ What makes our program so wonderful and unique is that
it’s not only an educational activity, but involves a physical
challenge as well,” said Kathy Keable, site manager of the
forest. “Students safely climb up into the canopy as they
learn about forest ecosystems and all of the associated communities
that live in old-growth forests.”
“ Canopy Connections” is a partnership of the station,
Pacific Tree Climbing Institute, and the Environmental Leadership
Program at the University of Oregon, whose students help to develop
the program’s curricula. It is one of many educational outreach
programs centered at H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a research
site located in Blue River, Oregon, that is cooperatively managed
by the station, Oregon State University, and the Willamette National
This is the fourth year that the Forest Service has matched
funds and in-kind contributions from partners for “More Kids in
the Woods,” which aims to promote physical activity and foster
environmental awareness and stewardship among young people. Partners—including
local, state, and federal agencies, and American Indian tribes—contributed
more than $1.5 million in funding and in-kind services in this
year’s challenge-cost share program.
To learn more about H.J.
Andrews and its outreach and research programs, including “Canopy Connections,” visit http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/exforests/hjandrews/ and http://andrewsforest.oregonstate.edu/.
The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon,
and Washington and about 425 employees.