9-12 Teachers Guide

The Greatest Good film was produced by the U.S. Forest Service in honor of its centennial in 2005. The film offers a historical overview of the last 100 years of natural resource management.

The Greatest Good DVD includes three disks, and is available for purchase. Disc 1 contains the two-hour history documentary film, detailing, in four 30-minute parts, some of the major Forest Service events and issues from the early 1900's to present. Disc 2 contains bonus materials, including the original film trailers (ads), as well as music videos, various views on hot topics in the Forest Service, and historic public service announcements. Disc 3 contains additional bonus materials including such topics as fire, Smokey Bear, brief historical short stories, and historical out-takes from the film. To learn more about what is on the three discs, see The Greatest Good DVD index.

Lesson Plans & Discussion Ideas

"The Fight for Conservation, 1864-1910" [Disc 1, Part I] - the initial idea of public lands in America and the development of the US Forest Service

"Building the System, 1911-1940" [Disc 1, Part II] - management of public lands by the US Forest Service

"Building the System, 1911-1940" [Disc 1, Part II] and/or "Boom!"[Part III] - wildfires on public lands and the management of public lands

"Building the System, 1911-1940" [Disc 1, Part II] and/or "Boom!"[Part III] or "Fire"[Disc 3] - information about wildfires on public lands

  • If Trees Could Talk, Module 9 ("Wildfires: Fight, Flight or Coexistence?") - (grades 9-10) The Forest History Society has students examine the history of wildland fires and their impact on society in America. Exploring our approaches to living with fire, students will examine various fire management techniques including prescribed fires, fire suppression, and fire prevention.
  • "Living with Fire" The U.S. Forest Service offers students the opportunity to learn more about fire management through an interactive game.
  • Forest Fires This Discovery School lesson helps students understand the role wildfires play in our world.

"Boom!" [Disc 1, Part III] - Forest Service management policies after World War II - meeting the needs of the public

"The Greatest Good? 1971-2005" [Disc 1, Part IV] - evolving Forest Service management policies - policy changes due to new understandings of ecosystems

"The Greatest Good? 1971-2005" [Disc 1, Part IV] or "Views of the Forest Service" [Disc 2] - both offer insight into public land management

  • "Forest Dilemmas" - (Grades 6-12) The Idaho Forest Products Commission has students use problem solving skills to examine forest management and "Best Management Practices."

"Public Service Announcements" [Disc 2] - There are several public service announcements in foreign languages, which might be helpful to Foreign Language teachers to share with their students.

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