The University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources is revolutionizing its forestry program through the creation of The Green Forestry Education Initiative. The Initiative defines and demonstrates a new niche for forestry and forest conservation education that emphasizes the integration of sustainable design, land ethics, and real-world learning. This approach is built upon a solid foundation of sustainable forestry principles outlined in The Montreal Process and increasingly recognized throughout the temperate world. The Initiative also emphasizes the importance of real world experiences for students and the ultimate dependence of forest conservation of any kind upon functional and viable links with local communities, businesses, and public and private organizations.
The Green Forestry Education Initiative exists in three arenas: on campus; at the Forest Conservation Center of the UVM Forest at Jericho; and in the community. The program was constructed to be simultaneously well-defined and cohesive enough to have immediate and substantial impact, and yet flexible and energetic enough to respond to very rapidly emerging needs. Emphases are 1) undergraduate education and the interaction of undergraduates with the surrounding community via outreach and service-learning activities; 2) research, demonstration and dissemination; and 3) partnerships with educational, community, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. The Henry David Thoreau Foundation supported a discrete, year-long, undergraduate-based augmentation of the Green Forestry Education Initiative's educational mission. This program consisted of three educational opportunities for undergraduates; one in each of the three semesters for the academic year 2005-06.