The Alabama Forestry Foundation was founded in 1978 to advance the knowledge of the management and utilization of Alabama’s forests, to promote stewardship and sustainable management of Alabama’s forest resources, to protect the private property rights of Alabama landowners and to promote markets for Alabama forest products.
Education is a key component of the Foundation’s activity. Annual projects include Project Learning Tree, Teacher Conservation Workshops and the Architecture Student Tour in conjunction with Auburn University’s College of Architecture.
Another important educational project is the Blackbelt Initiative. The Blackbelt Initiative was instituted to promote career opportunities in rural Alabama’s forest industry by involving local public officials, educational professionals, business leaders, teachers, students and parents. Alabama’s timber industry offers a unique opportunity for rural students to learn a profession and return to their home communities to pursue employment. Too many of our good students are leaving rural Alabama and we will begin to feel that impact in the not-to-distant future.
In order to prepare these students for careers in forestry related employment, the Foundation recognizes the need for improvement in math and science skills.
To address this, the Blackbelt Initiative funds an Excellence in Math & Science Program at two rural schools; J.U. Blacksher in the Monroe County community of Excel, and Thomasville Elementary in Clarke County. The Initiative also provides training support for teachers at McIntosh Elementary in Washington County.
This program funds teacher “coaches” at the schools to provide support to teachers; assisting them to incorporate math and science skills within all aspects of the curriculum. Working closely with the Alabama Department of Education’s AMSTI professionals, the teacher “coaches” receive enhanced training and support to provide the best possible education and learning environment for these rural school children in grades K-6. Learning these important foundational skills will encourage the students to appreciate the future employment opportunities that are provided by Alabama’s forests.
Watch this video to learn more about the Foundation’s Blackbelt Initiative:
The Foundation’s critical work will be used demonstrate to public policy officials the need to better fund math and science skills at the earliest possible stage of a child’s education. The results the Foundation determines from this program will be communicated to these officials and will hopefully be used to encourage increased funding for AMSTI throughout the state.
This work would not be possible without the generous contributions that our members have provided to the Foundation. We gratefully acknowledge the generous support provided by The Sybil H. Smith Charitable Trust, The Ben May Charitable Trust, Boise, International Paper, John Estes Land Company, Louisiana Pacific Corporation, Scotch Land Management and the Weyerhaeuser Foundation.
The Foundation anticipates receiving a $250,000 grant for the FY16 school year to continue the Blackbelt Initiative. This grant, however, requires a dollar for dollar match. So we need your help.
Please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the Foundation’s Blackbelt Initiative in order for us to maximize the opportunities that this grant provides.
For more information on the Alabama Forestry Foundation, please visit www.alabamaforestryfoundation.org