About Us  |  Contact Us  |  FAQ's  |  Newsroom

[design image slice] U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service on faded trees in medium light green background [design image slice] more faded trees
[design image] green box with curved corner
[design image] green and cream arch
Employee Search
Information Center
National Offices and Programs
Phone Directory
Regional Offices

US Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.

(800) 832-1355

  USA dot Gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal.

Kids in the Woods

Our most important resource in this country is not forests, vital as they are. It is not water, although life itself would cease to exist without it.
It is people.
The challenges of climate change and looming water shortages will not be resolved in a few years. It will take generations. Today’s children—and theirs—will need to be able to take the baton and continue the race. For that, they will need a full understanding of why forests are so valuable, along with a strong land ethic. It is our job to give them both.

Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell



A picture of two kids playing and enjoying the woods and great outdoors.Growing evidence shows that today's children are gravitating away from outdoor experiences and towards a virtual indoor reality. This disconnect from nature has serious long-term implications for the health and well-being of our nation's children and the future stewardship of our public lands, not to mention the very relevance of the Forest Service. Young people who grow up without a connection to nature may lack the knowledge, skills, abilities or inspiration to seek careers in natural resources and land management, an understanding of the dynamic environmental processes and the role human behavior plays in them, or awareness of the value of public lands.

The Forest Service has a long and proud tradition of reaching out to Americans on behalf of conservation. From Smokey Bear, to NatureWatch, to Project Learning Tree, the Forest Service has worked across programs and disciplines to integrate conservation education into much of what we do. But we must do more. If we are to meet the conservation challenges of the 21st century, then we must spread environmental literacy across America, focusing first and foremost on kids. Through a challenge cost-share program called “More Kids in the Woods,” the Forest Service is contributing to a growing national movement to bring kids to nature—and nature to kids. Click Here to view the 2008 More Kids in the Woods projects.

The Forest Service has several inter-related programs (see below) to help engage children of all ages in nature-based activities to enrich their lives, promote health through outdoor experiences, and develop the next generation of forest stewards:

Conservation Education

The Conservation Education program (CE) helps people of all ages understand and appreciate our country's natural resources and how to conserve those resources for future generations. Through structured educational experiences and activities targeted to varying age groups and populations, conservation education enables people to realize how natural resources and ecosystems affect each other and how resources can be used wisely.

But the Conservation Education program doesn't preach. Instead, it equips people to make their own intelligent, informed resource decisions. Through conservation education, people develop the critical thinking they need to understand the complexities of ecological problems. It also encourages people to act on their own to conserve natural resources and use them in a responsible manner. Learn more »


The NatureWatch program’s mission is to provide children and adults the opportunity to safely view, and participate in, activities and programs that raise their level of awareness and understanding of wildlife, fish, and plants, and their connection to ecosystems, landscapes and people.

National Forests provide some of the finest nature viewing opportunities in the world. Wildlife, fish, and wildflower viewing has become the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States, second only to gardening. Nature-based tourism is a booming worldwide industry that is growing daily. Learn more »


Wilderness.net is a website formed in 1996 through a collaborative partnership between the College of Forestry and Conservation's Wilderness Institute at The University of Montana, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. The latter two partners are the wilderness training and research arms of the Federal government, respectively. Wilderness.net now educates approximately 150,000 visitors each month about wilderness and the value of public lands preservation. Learn more »


National Forests and Grasslands offer a diversity of outdoor opportunities. These lands are yours - to visit, to care for, but most of all, to enjoy.
What are you waiting for? Pack up your family and friends and head for adventure in America's Great Outdoors. Learn more »

Just for Kids


US Forest Service
Last modified March 28, 2013

[graphic] USDA logo, which links to the department's national site. [graphic] Forest Service logo, which links to the agency's national site. [graphic] A link to the US Forest Service home page.