Education of students of all ages is central to the mission of Black Rock Forest, and integrates directly with research and conservation activities. Goals include advancing science literacy and understanding of the natural world, and training scientists of the future.
During this time of immense disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Rock Forest is still carrying out its crucial research and education work. The forest’s staff has adapted to help researchers still carry out their fieldwork, and has brought the forest to students who cannot visit: click on the link above to read more about these projects and how BRF continues to serve consortium members and the public whether it is with a virtual forest and online distance learning, helping researchers work in the new environment, or staff working from home and continuing to serve our "Friends of the Forest."
Forest Curricula, Videos & Peck Stacpoole Online Collections
School visits to Black Rock Forest have been integral to our work since the organization's inception in 1989, when six K-12 schools joined as founding members. K-12 membership has grown to include 13 private and public schools and districts, and Forest staff support nearly 15,000 student-visitor days annually. To search for activities and lessons that are available for use at the Forest in different academic disciplines and by age group, visit our online Peck Stacpoole Education Collections
. For an overview, see our compendium
of all curricular activities. Hard copy editions of many of these curricula are available for review at the Science Center. In addition to K-12 students, the Consortium supports a wide range of undergraduate and graduate coursework, internship programs, and research opportunities working with its college and university members. Visit the Virtual Forest to review online modules that support undergraduate coursework.
Black Rock Forest’s YouTube
page features a variety of videos that include educational content related to forest ecology and environmental field methods; documentary style videos that follow researchers into the forest to learn more about what they do; habitat walkthrough videos showing unique features that could be found in that area; and mindfulness walks and interactive 360 degree virtual hikes on our most scenic trails.
In the fall of 2016, Black Rock Forest celebrated the opening of its new energy-efficient tiny house, with public tours led by the house's designers, juniors from Avenues: The World School and their Integrated Science teachers, Steven Carpenter and Jason Hoeksema. The Integrated Science team designed and built components of the house at Avenues, and completed the build on forest property. The purpose of the project was to study energy transfer in physical and electrical systems - as well as ecological systems, and to build a useful facility for Forest researchers. With a budget of $15,000 and stringent requirements - including 100 s.f. of living space and off-grid energy sources to power light, heat, running water and appliances - the students had to extract maximum thermal performance from the house and choose which comforts of home to provide.
Tours of the tiny house are available by appointment only. For a "virtual" tour, see the photos and read the Times Herald Record's coverage
of the tiny house tours; watch the Avenues video that explains the project and shows the tiny house being constructed
; and take the 360 degree tour (which immediately follows the video on the Avenues blog).