- CALS News
- CALS Student
Forest Science Major Experience Program for Middle School Students at the Arboretum
The Forest Science Major Experience Program for Middle School Students at the Arboretum took place at Seoul National University Arboretum and Gwanak Campus in four sessions from January 9 to 31. The aims of the Experience Program are to develop ecological sensitivity in urban youth through nature and education, provide an open and balanced viewpoint to participants, introduce a change to their ways of thinking, and suggest the potentials of forest science. Fifty-seven middle school students from 24 schools in Anyang participated in exploration of the arboretum, learning about careers related to forestry and experiencing a little about what a forest science major involve.
The Experience Program in January was a two-day event. On the first day, the students learned about the arboretum’s roles and functions, forest science experts gave special presentations, the students visited the arboretum together with university faculty and participated in class and group sessions. On the second day, they were introduced to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Seoul National University and took a tour of the University campus, where professors gave special lectures on forest science. Outside the classroom, they had their first taste of forest science as a major, as they were matched with mentors at the forest science labs of the National Instrumentation Center for Environmental Management (NICEM) and participated in field training sessions, such as looking through optical microscopes and separating the DNA of plants.
Students were particularly impressed by some programs, and gave an average of 4.41 points out of 5 for the Program. The highest score (4.78) was given to the lab activities at NICEM, which would be very difficult for the students to do anywhere else, and included looking through optical microscopes and separating plant DNA. The response was also positive for other programs that encouraged their active participation, such as nature art and exploration of the arboretum, as well as the chance to converse and ask questions of their university student mentors.
Career paths were explored and new values associated with nature and forest science discovered, as students went through the Experience Program, as it provided an excellent opportunity for self-examination, broaden their thinking and help them make better choices. The Experience Program also motivated middle school students to continue their study at institutions of higher education by matching them with college student or researcher mentors. We look forward to more students participating in the Program as they seek the career path that is best for them.