Riverside School District teaches students about wildfire safety

CHATTAROY, Wash. — You’re never too young to start learning about wildfire safety – at least that’s what the Riverside School District thinks.

When you think of learning, you might picture a classroom stuffed full of kids and desks. What if someone told you that’s not the only way? That’s the message the Riverside School District is hoping to spread to their students.

“We right away knew that we would develop a vision of using the forest in our curriculum and in our instruction,” said Ken Russell, superintendent for the Riverside School District.

He and his staff have learned firsthand that many lessons happen outside of the classroom.

“We had a fire one summer a couple of years ago, and we knew we needed to get on it, and push forward our agenda.” said Russell.

That’s why they came up with the Riverside Forest Research Project, as a way to teach students about fire safety.

“When you bring 24 second-graders out, you walk back with a lot of questions that encourage some discussion,” said John Conley, Teacher at Riverside School District.

On the surface it may seem simple, but the lessons learned are something teachers at Riverside hope will stay with them for life.

“I think it empowers them to make a change and to be active in our community,” said Conley.

“I believe you’re going to see some great things overall over the next few years,” said Russell.