In 1993, a 3,400-acre site within the San Bernardino National Forest was set aside to create the first Children's Forest in the United States. To begin the fulfillment of its unique mission of involving youth in taking care of the forest, 40 young people from around the country were selected and brought to work side by side with key Forest Service staff and other experts.
They designed a trail and interpretive exhibits along the trail that teach young people about the forest. Youth were also involved in the development of ideas for educational programs and activities that could be offered within Children's Forest.
The mission of Children’s Forest is to provide a place where (1) youth can participate in stewardship, research and education projects to develop skills in communications, leadership, and problem solving, and (2) youth and families can participate in programs to learn how to explore a forest setting. Children’s Forest provides young people with opportunities to participate in projects that integrate social, economic, educational, and environmental dimensions in order to prepare them to be the future stewards and decision makers for the earth’s shared resources.
There are three program areas within Children’s Forest: