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OCS Teacher Picked as Educational Ambassador for the National Museum of Forest Service History

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Beth Howard, the art teacher at Dixon Elementary School, was one of six teachers from across the country invited to join a select group of Montana educators at a teaching workshop.  The workshop, held earlier this month, was meant as a kick-off to developing materials and lesson plans that will become part of the education program of the National Museum of Forest Service History.  The museum, not yet built, will be in Missoula, Montana — home to the Forest Service Northern Region Headquarters.  The U.S. Forest Service plans to provide most of the archives and artifacts that will make up the bulk of the museum’s collection.

It came as no surprise Howard would jump at the chance to travel to Montana.  Throughout her career as a teacher she has often taken advantage of travel opportunities and global experiences offered through the profession, knowing her knowledge can be shared with her students and will further enhance her teaching.  Howard, a lover of Mother Nature and all her creatures, has always made it a point to impart to her students what it means to be environmentally conscious.  She believes it is important for her students to understand their connection and responsibility to the world that sustains us.  She was instrumental in getting the school involved in a recycling program and has initiated other environmentally friendly programs at the school.

In addition to her genuine love of turtles and dedication to preserving and protecting them, Howard says she has a connection to the Forest Service.  She revealed she has a sweet spot in her heart for Smokey the Bear, dating back to her childhood.  She and her family traveled to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to see Smokey the Bear.  As she tells the story she produces an old black and white photo of her and her brother with Smokey in the background.  To observe Fire Prevention Week, she shared her “real” Smokey the Bear story and had her students create artwork around the campaign.  Of course, she loved showing off the ones who commemorated Smokey.

She describes the workshop as an “awesome experience” getting to share ideas with other educators and the folks involved from the Forest Service in Montana.  She cannot wait to get started on the lesson plans and activities she will create.  In addition to providing students with lessons including the history of the national forests and U.S. Forest Service, she wants to share the resources readily available through the Library of Congress.  Most importantly she hopes her lessons will motivate students to want to travel and experience public lands and places throughout the United States and not take them for granted.  And of course, she will always address the importance of conservation.  She believes national parks are important, they provide a window to our past and are a means to preserve the natural bounty within the nation.



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