School Forest Carbon Sequestration Bundled Curriculum

Don't miss this opportunity to make climate change locally relevant to your students with innovative lessons that get students thinking about how carbon is moving through the forest just outside their school.

Start with big picture: Great intro lesson that introduces the carbon cycle (global), what is the carbon cycle, differences between short-term and long-term cycles, planet's carbon budget, the "missing sinks"- The Carbon Cycle - Will Steger Foundation

Next, drill down to a scale that is more local and easier for students to wrap their minds around: Forest Carbon Cycle Game - Revised Student Data Sheets

Goal #1: Figure out how much carbon is in the living trees within our forest

Step 1: Set up 1/10th acre plots. Depending on forest available - could be in school yard or school forest in different stand types

Step 2. Record diameter at breast height (dbh) and tree species for every tree 1" or greater dbh inside 1/10th acre plots. Student data sheets here

Optional additional data collection: tree age with increment borer, soil texture, gps areas to get acres of each forest type

Step 3. Calculate living tree carbon in each 1/10 acre plot utilizing excel spreadsheet

Step 4. Compare to results from Carbon Online Estimator . (Note: You will have to do some conversions: 1 metric ton = 1000 kg and 1 acre = 0.40468564 hectares)

Step 5. Using gps/free internet mapping software, extrapolate out to figure out total live tree carbon in school forest.

Forest Carbon

Goal #2: Come up with forest stewardship recommendations to maximize carbon sequestration.


Utilize Carbon Online Estimator to find forest types that hold high amounts of carbon.

Determine if your forest type would grow in your soils/climate: Trees by soil texture/moisture and shade tolerance

Optional extension: Encourage students to think about other parameters that impact forest stewardship: forest regeneration, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, invasive and endangered species, cultural resources, economics, soil and water conservation, etc.


Funded by EPA Region V Environmental Education Grant Program