The Greatest Good Film Logo

K-12 Teachers Guide

The Greatest Good,
a Forest Service Centennial

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"The Greatest Good"
DVD and companion book.

"If Trees Could Talk" curriculum

Suggestions of lesson plans or ways to use The Greatest Good film in your classroom? Please feel free to share:
Cheryl Oakes

Other Useful Sites:

USDA Forest Service site for Kids offers great activities for students.

America's Rain Forests offers additional forest information and lesson plans for teacher to use with student 5-8.


Forest History Society Logo Link



The U.S. Forest Service is the federal agency that since 1905 has managed most of America's public forests and several million acres of public grasslands. During its long history it has faced many challenges in working with both nature and people.

The Greatest Good film was produced by the Forest Service in honor of its Centennial celebration in 2005 and provides an in-depth look at natural resource management during the 20th century. Using this film in a classroom offers an ideal way to introduce students to many related issues such as forest conservation, the role of fire in our society, wildlife protection, human impacts on the environment, and environmental decision-making in a democracy.

This guide offers K-12 educators suggestions for incorporating age-appropriate portions of the film and its bonus materials into the social studies, science, math, and civics classroom. There are also links to complementary activities and lessons from many different organizations.

The Following sites require that you attend training to obtain their useful lesson plan materials:

  • Project Learning Tree, PLT (training provides a curriculum guide and useful teaching tips) Ag in the Classroom (many states offer facilitator training)
  • LEAF (training and curriculum guide offered free of charge to Wisconsin, K-12 teachers)

Continue to check the Forest History Society for new modules being added to the "If Trees Could Talk" curriculum.