By Nick ZieglerPublished November 08, 2018 12:57AMSTANDING at Lake Forest High School, a school district in suburban Chicago, is the forest-clad campus where a class of 6-year-olds is learning to protect the forest.
But a new project by the district, the Forest Park Foundation, is bringing the school’s most famous forest-dwelling mascot back to life for the first time in years.
As part of the foundation’s “Forest School” campaign, a series of forest-themed activities are being held at Lake View Elementary School in Lake Forest, Ill., a school with about 1,300 students in grades K-8.
Forest Park’s “Forests are the Answer” event is scheduled for Friday, November 12, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in the school auditorium.
“I think it’s a really fun thing for the students to come out here and see the forest, see how it’s going to grow and how we’re going to get a big forest, a forest of trees,” said Forrest High School principal Scott Womack.
The project, which is funded in part by Forest Park, hopes to give students an education about the forests, how to care for them and what they can do to protect them.
The project is sponsored by the Chicago Park District, Forest Park’s parent company.
The forest-inspired activities will be led by a forest-watcher who will guide the kids around the forest and guide them in their daily life.
The kids will also learn how to identify trees and how to safely remove them from the forest with a pick axe.
“We want them to have a good sense of safety and a sense of being able to do the right thing,” said Womak.
The Forest School will also offer a forest campground that is open to students and teachers.
“The campground is a great opportunity for us to bring students together and teach them about trees and nature, because the forests are important to us, they’re important to our economy,” Womacke said.
“It’s really exciting to be able to bring these types of things to Lake View, because we have such a great connection with Lake View and Lake Forest,” said Heather Siegel, a Forest Park principal and former teacher.
Forest School is one of a number of programs the district is rolling out in Lake View this fall.
The Forest School Foundation has partnered with the Forest and Prairie Park Association, a group of forest enthusiasts and educational professionals, to organize an educational forest camp on the school grounds.
Siegel said she hopes that by encouraging students to participate in the program, the district will also raise awareness about forests and their role in our environment.
“One of the things we learn is that forest communities have been impacted by human activities, and that they have lost so much habitat over the years, so we have to work to make sure that the forest remains intact, that it’s protected, that we have a healthy forest ecosystem,” she said.
The “Foresters are the answer” campaign is funded through Forest Park and the Chicago Parks Department.
For more information, visit forestfoundation.org.