The Berlin School Forest system is comprised of four parcels of land totaling 50 acres. The 20 acre Pine Bluff Forest is the largest parcel as well as the furthest drive from district schools at 12 miles west of Berlin . The Seward Memorial Forest is 18 acres in size surrounded by the Mascoutin Golf Course three miles south of town. The 10 acre Hunter Street Pine Plantation is located within the Berlin city limits about 2 miles from district schools on the west end of town. The final property is a two acre Wisconsin native tree arboretum/educational garden located on site at the west end of the Berlin High School grounds.
See Berlin School Forests Location Map for each forest location in relation to school district facilities.
Berlin School Forests
The four properties, which comprise the Berlin School Forest system, represent a diverse outdoor educational classroom for the greater Berlin community. Forest habitats include remote oak savanna, managed pine plantation, residential woodlot, and school site arboretum. Through ongoing development and refinement, each forest will serve as a unique educational facility to enhance interdisciplinary environmental education for our students, teachers, and community. Our mission in environmental education is to educate learners to become environmentally knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated citizens who are willing to work individually and collectively, toward achieving and maintaining a dynamic equilibrium between the quality of life and the quality of the environment. This will be accomplished through informed decision making as well as lifestyle assessment and modification. Environmental education should be a continuous lifelong process, beginning at the preschool level and continuing through all stages of a person’s life. To successfully meet the mandated state environmental education standards, many of which are field skill based, the Berlin School Forests serve as exceptional outdoor classrooms, where hands-on, multi-sensory learning opportunities are provided to introduce, develop, and master each EE standard. Recreationally, the Berlin School Forests strive to provide lifetime outdoor recreation/adventure opportunities which instill a healthy lifestyle, as well as an aesthetic appreciation for the outdoors. Through sustainable forestry practices, the Berlin School Forests are managed for multiple use, taking into consideration the desired ecological, economic, and social outcomes for each property, to meet the needs of many users for years to come.
Berlin School Forests
Educational Target Messages
1. Awareness of local, regional, and global environmental issues, along with time spent learning outdoors, greatly influences the development of environmental sensitivity and environmentally responsible behavior in humans.
2. Identification and assessment of regional ecosystems within the school forest properties allows for active student participation in the ecosystems sustained management and restoration.
3. Lifetime outdoor recreational activities promote healthy lifestyle decisions by promoting fitness in and within the environment.
4. Flora and fauna field research is needed to inventory and monitor populations of native species while controlling the spread of invasive, non-native species.
5. The state of Wisconsin’s historic and current dependence on forests and the forest industry requires the continual teaching of forestry management skills, resources, and careers within this field.
Pine Bluff Forest
Continue sustainable forestry management practices for multiple use of the property including education, recreation, and wildlife.
Continual native oak savanna/prairie grassland restoration and management to promote habitat for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly and other native grassland flora and fauna.
Ongoing site development to provide an accessible and safe site for educational use as well as school and community recreation.
To work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as the Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources for the management of native Lupine habitat to preserve the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
To advertise and promote usage of the Vertical Venture Ropes Courses to insure facility usage, maintenance, and financial income/security for the school forest program.
To work with Wisconsin DNR county foresters to develop a long range forest management plan.
To continue on-site development of educational areas within the forest as well as EE curriculum for all students, staff, and the community.
For the last ten years, the BerlinSchoolForest manager has worked cooperatively with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources to monitor Karner Blue Butterfly populations on this property. In addition, Lupine habitat has been restored and improved to increase the number of Karner Blue Butterflies through such events as prescribed burns and direct Lupine plantings.
In 2002, BerlinSchoolForest manager met with Wisconsin DNR county forester Frank Kirshling to develop a forestry management plan for the property. His recommendations are outlined on the following page. To date, staff and students are using controlled burning and planting to restore and improve the native Lupine and oak savanna/prairie areas to benefit all grassland species, not only the Karner Blue Butterfly. Timothy Allen, our new DNR county forester will be developing a Forest Stewardship Management Plan for this property in early 2007 which will include some harvest of aspen and oak.