The Yale Forests provide a wide variety of ecosystems that can serve as an outdoor classroom for use by FES faculty and by students for independent research projects. The educational and research opportunities on the Forests often overlap such that the objectives of both uses are met with one project. Many faculty have taken advantage of this opportunity and bring their students to the Yale Forests for field trips. The Yale Myers Forest has the capacity to accommodate large groups on extended overnight field trips and serves as the site for the Ecosystem Measurement Module for incoming students. At this time, there are no facilities at the other forests which would be compatible with this type of field visit.
The education objectives of the School Forests Program are currently met in eleven ways:
1) class field trips, 2) field exercises, 3) field modules, 4) doctoral and masters student research and research interns, 5) the apprentice forester program, 6) forest administration, 7) demonstration areas and outside group tours for professionals and the public, 8) summer research seminars, 9) dissemination of published research (School Forest working papers and peer reviewed contributions), 10) the School Forests Newsletter, and 11) World Wide Web-based dissemination of information.
The stated goal of the forest is to provide educational opportunities and in that way it is important to have a direct faculty relationship to the management of the School Forests. As described in the management guidelines for the Yale Myers Forest, one of the three primary objectives which the forest should provide is a hands-on, working (managed) forest laboratory for teaching.
Class Field Trips
The Yale Forests have always been used as an outdoor classroom. The Yale Myers Forest is used most frequently because of its proximity to campus (compared to the Vermont and New Hampshire forests) and because its facilities can handle overnight visits, although the Yale Toumey Forest is often utilized for day trips. Obviously, South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority properties are closer to New Haven and are used by many classes, but because we control the management at the School Forests they have a unique value for classes such as silviculture, forest operations, and forest stand dynamics.
Several forest operations workshops are held at the Yale Myers Forest. These typically comprise 15 students and cover topics such as fire ecology and prescribed burning, harvesting operations, wetlands delineation and soil surveys.
One of the most intensive educational uses of the Yale Myers Forest is the Ecosystem Measurement Module during the late summer, when incoming Masters students learn the basics of performing measurements in the field. The forest serves as a useful site for instruction but also as an important venue since, for most of our students, it represents a rare opportunity to live on a managed forest.
Projects for Masters Students, Research Interns, and Doctoral Research
The Yale Forests are used by students for a number of courses and special projects -- both official Dissertation and Master’s projects as well as projects within the context of different courses such as economics and management. As the School has grown, the demand has increased for forested land to serve as a site for these projects.
Apprentice Forester Internship Program
The summer internships are the most intensive educational use of our forests. Over the last decade we have been increasing the number of the masters student interns who perform all phases of forest management work including continuous forest inventory, stand exams, mapping and photographic interpretation, timber sale layout, marking of silvicultural prescriptions, contract compliance and supervision, road drainage and maintenance, and boundary marking.
From 1980 through 2005, both the Forest Manager and Assistant Forest Manager were doctoral students and masters students with prior forest crew experience who ran the day-to-day administration of the forest. While the job of Forest Manager became a full-time staff position in 2005, the majority of the management at the Forests is still done by graduate students, which provides a unique combination of management and educational training.
Tours and Demonstration Areas
Every year group meetings, workshops and tours are conducted at the School Forest by students and faculty of the School. Common events are those sponsored by the Society of American Foresters, Connecticut Forest and Park Association, Connecticut Cooperative Extension Forestry, field visits by students from other universities, and field trips sponsored by the USDA Forest Service seminars. There are currently five unique demonstration areas that serve to illustrate our understanding of forest management to groups of professionals, students and the public.
School Forest Research Seminar
An annual summer seminar series takes place at the Yale Myers Forest that is open to the general public and is intended to demonstrate the nature of our research and its management implications.
Dissemination of Published Research
Yale School Forests Program working papers will be made available through the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry. Peer-reviewed literature that comprises results of research at the School Forests will be compiled into an annual booklet for distribution to professional and public organizations in Southern New England.
School Forests Newsletter
An annual newsletter is published at the start of the calendar summarizing the last year's events and the plans for the future year. It is distributed to public subscribers in the region, school forest alumni/ae, and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies faculty, students and administration.
World Wide Web
The Yale Forests website serves to educate students and others about management, research, and educational initiatives at the School Forests.