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Sustainable Operations


Our children need to understand how much they depend on forests, wherever they live—and 80 percent of our population lives in urban environments. Children need to know how much pleasure there is to be had in forests. - Forest Service Chief Abigail R. Kimbell.


Adopt-A-School Program

Advancing partnerships with diverse communities is key to help the nation achieve long term energy and water conservation and promote life-long learning about the environment. We are working to create an informed citizenry by connecting kids to their local environment through the Adopt-A-School Program which exposes students, teachers and their community to the Forest Service and the nations' natural resources. By building relationships through guest lectures, professional educator development, field trips and hands on activities, we work with schools to connect them to the natural world. Our goal is to adopt a school in every state.


Big Belly Solar Trash Compactor
The Forest Service as a part of a Sustainable Operations is providing Big Belly solar compactors to its partnership schools. The Big Belly is a compacting trash receptacle that is completely self-powered and uses solar power for 100% of its energy needs.


A Big Belly has fives times the capacity of an ordinary compactor. It reduces emissions of green house gases and other pollutants. The safe and easy to use design keeps out pests and has already proven effective in urban streets, parks, colleges, arenas—and in all weather conditions.


Green Schools!
A Green School integrates and uses clean conservation practices on school grounds, and creates a healthier, happier, and smarter student body. Greening a school is done on a school-wide basis, by the teachers and students themselves. Through hands-on service learning activities, 5 investigations guide students and teachers through actions that address academic standards and institute long-term changes to improve the health of the school, often while saving money!

US Green Building Council explains how to build Green Schools and everything related to the LEED certification

Ecoschools US
Ecoschools US is a non-profit, independent advocacy network that promotes the greening of K-12 educational facilities and daycare centers. The site features presentations, events, training, sponsorship and grant opportunities. There is no cost for membership in Ecoschools US, but application is subject to approval by the network. For more information, contact Anja Caldwell, at 240.481.5779 or email

EPA Environmental Kids Club
EPA's website for kids helps children learn about the environment through games, pictures, and stories.

Professional Development: Environmental Training for Educators
Using Project Learning Tree environmental education materials and local resource-based materials, workshop participants will learn how to integrate environmental education into their curriculum, conduct the GreenSchools! Investigations with their students, and complete GreenWorks! service learning projects based on their investigation results.

GreenSchools! Investigations!
Schools will assess current environmental conditions in and on their school grounds using PLT’s set of five GreenSchools! Investigations (site use, waste and recycling, water assessment, energy, and environmental quality). Each investigation consists of background information, inventory of questions on the topic, classroom inventories, and a list of action items. The investigations are conducted by students and conclude with the development of an action plan to improve their school site.

Green Works! Environmental Improvement Service Learning Projects
The GSIs provide the framework for GreenWorks! service learning projects. Grants will be awarded to schools to implement the action plans they developed through the GSIs. GreenWorks! is a service learning environmental action program that brings together educators, students, families, and organizations from the community to address local environmental issues. 

Fun Sites for Kids

  • Twitter - Follow Twitter's first tweeting squirrel - Cheecker.
  • Forest Tweets - Compiles all tweets and shows on a Google map where they are coming from throughout the country to provide families with ideas onhow to experience nature in their communitiess and choose destinations.
  • Facebook - The Discover the Forest campaign now has a Facebook page.
  • Myspace - Discover the Forests Myspace page.
  • Discover the Forest Sweepstakes - encouragess kids to head into the forestt and return with a photo or piece of artwork that represents thier experience.

Kids in the Woods


Letters From Leadership



Pollinator Live!
While pollinators may come in small sizes, they play a large and often undervalued role in the production of the food we eat, the health of flowering plants, and the future of wildlife. A decline in the numbers and health of pollinators over the last several years poses a significant threat to the integrity of biodiversity, to global food webs, and to human health, according to scientists. Join us for a series of live interactive webcasts, web seminars, and satellite field trips about pollinators, gardening, and conservation. PollinatorLIVE is geared to grades 4 to 8.

Kids in the Woods
In a society where children are becoming more technologically savvy and spending less time in the outdoors, it is important to educate children on the benefits of preserving forests and grasslands. Contributions from the Forest Service and various partnerships such as schools, environmental and youth non-profit organizations, Native American tribes and other federal, state and local government will promote children spending time in the outdoors and help develop them into environmental stewards.

National Get Outdoors Day [PDF]
In a nationwide effort to get people away from their computers and interacting with the outdoors, the Forest Service and American Recreation Coalition are launching its second annual National Get Outdoors Day. In collaborations with federal, state and local agencies, and various key enthusiasts, this event is aimed to inspire a growing interest in national forests and grasslands.

MonarchLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure [PDF]
Be part of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Millions of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) will be making their annual migration from Canada and the United States to the mountain peaks of Michoacan, Mexico. Take your class on FREE live and interactive field trips as they get to listen to scientists who study these amazing butterflies.

Get Involved - Useful Links


Civil Rights Director Debra Muse (left) helps students at Bailey's Elementary School on January 11, 2008. Forest Service representatives spoke with staff at Bailey's about their Outdoor Education Program and looked at their facility and school grounds in order to see how the Forest Service can help their outdoor science program in the future.
Photo by Keith Riggs, Office of Communication, Washington Office.

Last Modified: 10/11/2012