Developed in 1992, Forest Conservation Days (FCD) is an educational program sponsored by the California Society of American Foresters in partnership with other resource organizations, including the USDA Forest Service. The goal of the program is to engage youth in the science and practice of forest conservation through participation in outdoor education led by natural resource professionals and students. Forest trail hikes are organized to include lessons regarding forest ecology, resource management, and the societal benefits of sustainably managed forestlands. This interdisciplinary approach to education allows students to learn valuable perspectives about California science standards and the web of life, respectively. FCD is provided in close collaboration with Reedley College and with the support of the USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry (Region 5).
Forest Conservation Days is an annual event that provides an outdoor classroom for fifth-grade students to explore the web of life. While guided through the forest students encounter dynamic stations including a sawmill, wildlife, tree nursery, forest products, fire science, logging equipment, local history, archaeology and some new exhibits every year.
The day consists of two parts; the first is a 2-hour trail walk with a professional forest manager, resource specialist or Forestry student. The second day is aimed at educating the students on various forestry and forest issues. This program has become a popular mainstay and occurs annually during the last full week of September. Over 60,000 5th grade students, teachers, scouts, parents, and public participants have attended since 1991. Many school science and history standards are met by introducing students to forest sciences, archaeology and local land histories.
Students arrive at the site and a guide leads each group of 10-20 students and chaperones through the trail, pointing out objects of interest, and answering questions.