Resources for Grades 3-5 Activity – My Green Future

All kinds of people work in the forest—from foresters, to loggers, to scientists. Everyone depends on properly managed forests for recreation, essential products, wildlife and biodiversity, clean water and air. This activity provides students with an overview of forest-related careers.

For the complete activity and more like this, purchase the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide at Shop.PLT.org and/or attend a professional development training in your state.

Below are some supporting resources for this activity.

STUDENT PAGES

Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Who Works in This Forest? (PDF)

RECOMMENDED READING

Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Who Works in the Forest?

    Watch these series of PLT Canada Green Jobs Videos to meet some amazing men and women who work in and care for our forests. Find out why their jobs are key to managing forests sustainably. Learn about the communities in which these professionals live and work, how society benefits from the work they do, and the various education and career pathways that led them to their unique green jobs. The series is hosted by Lacey Rose, a registered professional forester.

  • Indigenous Connections to PLT Activities

    The Minnesota Department of Education includes Indigenous-based learning benchmarks in science, language arts, and social studies. Learn how the Minnesota DNR worked with tribes to adapt several PLT activities to include Ojibwe and Dakota culture and knowledge, and get some tips for teaching about Indigenous Peoples with knowledge and respect. Access the Ojibwe and Dakota PLT Lessons that connect students in grades K-8 to forests using Indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

  • Video: Logging Products

    Logging Products.” This 6:39-minute video provides an overview of the types of products that come from harvested trees, and offers an insight into the job of logger. It is one of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • Video: Cool Tools that Foresters Use, Part 1 and Part 2

    “Cool Tools that Foresters Use, Part 1 and Part 2.” Part 1 (7:47 minutes) shows how to measure tree diameter with a diameter tape, height with a Merritt hypsometer, and age with an increment borer. Part 2 (6:40 minutes) shows how to measure stand density with an angle gauge and basal area with a wedge prism. This two-part video is part of a series of BeLeaf It or Not! videos by Michigan State University Extension, which are geared for students.

  • America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell: Wisconsin Northwoods

    This full-length 26:17-minute video is an episode of the series America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell, hosted by Rolling Stones keyboard player and Georgia family tree farmer, Chuck Leavell. Following are approximate time stamps and possible connections to specific PLT activities:

    • 2:00-7:07 – Overview of Wisconsin Forests. Chuck meets with a forester, and they talk about their personal connection to forests and how working forests can serve a variety of purposes, from wood products to recreation. Use with “If You Were the Boss” and “Our Federal Forests.”
    • 7:20-11:42 – Chuck meets with young folks in the Job Corps, and we hear about the history of the Conservation Corps and about how many people find meaningful work in forests. Use with “My Green Future.”
    • 12:00-18:40 – Chuck meets with a tree farmer who is interested in maximizing habitat for ruffed grouse. We also meet a lumber “jill” who participates in competitive timber sports and works with the tree farmer to cut a tree for grouse habitat. Use as a supplement to “Trees as Habitats” and “My Green Future.”
    • 18:56-23:00 – Chuck meets with Marshall Pecore on the Menominee Indian Reservation, which has 200,000 acres of sustainably managed forests. Pecore describes how the Menominee believe that in terms of forest management, the forest is first before profit. For example, they cut the worst trees in the forest first, not the best trees, and look at forest management from a 7th generation perspective. Use with “If You Were the Boss” or “Our Federal Forests.”

     

  • SFI Florida Forest Partners

    Use this 3:18-minute video to experience an on-the-ground view of third-party forest product certification audit in the state of Florida. Auditors visit operations to verify that the forest is managed in a sustainable way as part of the certification process.

  • Conservation Careers: Video Series from New York

    The video series On the Front Lines, created by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, profiles conservation professionals working in New York’s natural lands and environments. Select the playlist “On the Front Lines” to choose from 25 videos highlighting a variety of green careers including Wildlife BiologistForest Health Specialist, and Environmental Educator.

  • Outdoor Careers and Connections to Nature: Video Series from New Hampshire

    The video series North Country Calling: Finding Home in Northern New Hampshire documents four young people in New Hampshire who have found rewarding careers in forestry and the manufacture of wood products, in outdoor recreation and education. Their chosen paths strengthen their close connection with nature and fulfill their thirst for outdoor adventure. The videos, created by Northern Woodlands and the Northern Forest Center, highlight how residents in their 20s and 30s are upholding the North Country way of life and adapting it for the future.

  • Career Profile Cards

    Explore jobs in the environment, natural resource, outdoor recreation, and renewable energy sectors with these Career Profile Cards, developed by the Pacific Education Institute.  The cards highlight voices of individuals in those careers. Learn about the day-to-day, career pathway, and tips and tools of the trade from an Assistant Forester, Salmon Habitat Restoration Manager, Water Quality Biologist, and even the owner and founder of a Kayak company.

  • Make That Paper: Careers in Forestry Online Game

    Make That Paper: Careers in Forestry is an online game designed to help high school students learn about the forestry industry and career employability skills. In the game, students are managers in three different forest industry career tracks, hiring personnel, solving industry-related problems, and making sound business decisions. Objectives include maintaining sustainable, efficient, and successful management of the forest and production of forest products. The game is part of an ongoing partnership between GPB Education and Georgia Forestry Foundation to offer standards-aligned educational resources for 3rd -12th grade. It teaches students about working forests and real-world forestry jobs by simulating workplace scenarios and testing forestry industry knowledge.

  • Cool Jobs Video Series

    Want to show your students how fun, interesting, and just downright cool being a scientist can be? Share with them this Cool Jobs video series that highlights what scientists do, how they do it, and how they got their jobs. There are 40 videos highlighting a variety of green careers including BiologistWildlife Conservationist, and Zoologist.

  • PLT Green Jobs Youth Personality Quiz

    Project Learning Tree has launched an interactive quiz that allows youth to answer a few simple questions online and receive recommendations for a rewarding green career path that suits their personality. It’s fast, easy, and fun to do! — perfect for youth ages 12-25 looking to learn about what it takes to perform jobs in sustainability, forestry, and conservation. Try the quiz yourself at www.plt.org/greenjobsquiz.

  • PLT’s 12 Green Job Fact Sheets

    Learn more about the wide array of jobs related to forests with PLT’s 12 Green Jobs Fact Sheets, which highlights the following green jobs: Forester, Environmental Educator, GIS Specialist, Indigenous Relations Specialist, Forestry Technician, Park Ranger, Hydrologist, Silviculture Technician, Urban Forester, Machine Operator, Wildlife Biologist, and Sustainability Manager. Green jobs offer opportunities for people with diverse backgrounds, skills, interest areas, and personal qualities. Youth and adults alike might be surprised at the range of green career opportunities. These jobs help sustain forest ecosystems and ensure that forest products are produced in the most sustainable way possible also ensure that wildlife habitat is conserved, trees are replanted, and workers are treated fairly.

  • Kids and Youth—Yellowstone National Park

    Plan a virtual mini-lesson using Yellowstone National Park’s Kids and Youth section for students to learn more about America’s first national park. Through educational and enriching information, illustrations, and even sound snippets, students can explore a specific theme of the park—Geology, Hydrothermal, Wildlife, History, and Preservation. You can also guide them towards the Ask a Ranger page for common questions and answers that complement each Exploration Theme.

    (Resource for PLT’s K-8 Activity 35—Loving It Too Much, Activity 54—I’d Like to Visit a Place Where…, and Activity 34—Who Works in this Forest)

  • Natural Inquirer Scientist Cards

    Explore more than 250 different Forest Service scientist and engineer career opportunities with the Natural Inquirer’s downloadable career cards, made in partnership with Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association (CFAIA) and the US Forest Service. Available in both English and Spanish, career cards are available direct for download and will help youth explore the important characteristics of a scientist, with examples of research questions pursued by each profession, the common technology and equipment used in their research, and more!

  • Finding Your Path

    Learn more about the life of a field forester and more in this booklet Find Your Path from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Joe Newton, once a professional football player for the Seattle Seahawks, now works for Lone Rock Timber in Roseburg, Oregon as a Field Forester. He collaborates with tree-planters, helicopter pilots, and other company staff to maintain the health and improvement of tree plantations. This booklet provides other forest-sector employee profiles – forest manager, natural resource ecologist, research economist, logging crew, millwright – offering advice, short job-descriptions, and the various curves they took on their career path.

  • Skype a Scientist

    The Skype a Scientist program matches more than 500 scientists with classrooms worldwide. Available for any level along the K-12 spectrum, a typical Q&A-style video chat lasts between 30 to 60 minutes and covers topics in the scientist’s area of expertise and what it’s like to be a scientist. Follow the link to browse scientists and sign up!

  • Ask a Biologist

    Digitally bring a professional into your classroom with Arizona State University’s Ask a Biologist.  Students can use the Ask a Biologist’s web resources to learn about and research many different environmental issues. Multiple activities, stories, images, and links are also available for educators to use and build lessons around.         

  • Geoscience Career Videos

    The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has put together two new videos that highlight potential paths for high school students interested in a geoscience career. The first video titled Groundwater Careers includes interviews with college students and professionals who discuss their field work, lab work, and passion for becoming an environmentalist. The second video titled Groundwater is Cool provides important facts, figures, and profound statistics about the world’s groundwater use and thus the need for groundwater professionals.

  • How Would You Manage The Forest?

    Help your students understand the delicate balance between human activity, climate change, and forest animals. This Minnesota Star Tribune article discusses the decline of the moose population. It includes a simple activity for students to explore the complex relationship between different animals and their forest ecosystems. Can you manage the forest for the benefit of one species? Get your students to answer this question for themselves as they learn how animals are connected to each other and the place they live.

  • Forestry Careers & Degrees: A Guide for Students

    If students are considering a career in the forestry profession, they may envision spending a workday in blue jeans and hiking boots, managing wild lands and protecting nature for future generations. The reality of forestry careers, however, is somewhat different. Forestry Careers & Degrees: A Guide for Students offers a wealth of information about forestry careers, including facts and data on employment prospects, educational requirements and options, and more.

  • FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has monitored the world’s forests at 5 to 10 year intervals since 1946. The State of the World’s Forests 2020–Forests, Biodiversity and People, examines the contributions of forests, and of the people who use and manage them, to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. For the first time, this edition is a joint effort between two United Nations entities: FAO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    In addition, this interactive report contains the main findings of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020). FRA 2020 examines the status of, and trends in, more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020. The information provided by FRA presents a comprehensive view of the world’s forests and the ways in which the resource is changing. Such a clear global picture supports the development of sound policies, practices and investments affecting forests and forestry.

    The 2015 FRA examined the status and trends at the time for more than 90 variables and all types of forests in 233 countries and areas. 

  • Greener Blue Jeans

    Who doesn’t like blue jeans? The indigo dye that provides their distinctive color holds up to detergents, but ages into that soft, worn look. Indigo is one of the oldest dyes used for coloring textiles. For thousands of years it was extracted from tropical plants in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, with various unpleasant side effects. This Berkeley University of California article describes the research involved in finding a cleaner route to produce the iconic dye. 

  • LearnForests.org Career Videos

    Check out the Oregon-based website LearnForests.org for a compilation of nearly 30 videos targeting Grades 4-12 about careers in the forest sector. In addition to valuable career insights, the videos contain various forest facts that are both interesting and informational. The first-person accounts of those who currently have forest careers provide an insightful resource for those considering a future in the field of forestry.