1. What is Global Forest Link?
Global Forest Link is an award-winning S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education program that engages high school and middle school students in the collaborative analysis of local forest health and helps them explore the impact of environmental change factors. Students share results online via photographs and digital stories with peers in other cities and countries, giving them a local and global perspective.
  1. What is the timeline for Global Forest Link?
Typically, there are two GFL sessions, one starting in the Fall and one starting in the Spring. However, participants can join GFL at any time by using the self-paced tutorials and downloadable resources.
  1. Who is eligible to participate in Global Forest Link?
Youth worldwide (ages 12-19) are invited to participate, as long as they are under the approved supervision of a teacher, administrator, or parent.
  1. How much does it cost to participate in Global Forest Link?
There is no cost to participate.
  1. What are the Global Forest Link student activities?
GFL student activities include:Hands-on field research, data collection, taking photos and videos of local forests, parks, and urban forestsReview self-paced online tutorialsTake part in online collaborations, including live training webinars, with industry, science and video journalism expertsCreate and share original digital stories that tell about local forest healthEngage in global, real-time, interactive events via online conferencing
  1. What are benefits of participating in Global Forest Link?
Participants of GFL:Engage in cross-cultural exchanges, increasing awareness of local and global environmental issues and new culturesLearn data collection and analysis and basic remote sensing via satellite images, a technology increasingly used for environmental monitoringLearn project-management, time management, and risk analysis skillsLearn to produce and publish digital stories, providing credible references for university, college, and career pathsMake authentic scientific contributions to understanding forest change caused by fires, drought, insect infestation, logging, human development, climate, environmental stress, and excessive forest densityReceive certificates, awards, and recognition
  1. If we live in an urban area that is not near a national park or wilderness area, can our students still participate?
Absolutely. GFL encourages the study of urban forests and local tree canopy.
  1. What is an “urban forest” or “community forest?”
Not all forests are in wilderness areas. An urban forest, sometimes called a community forest, is a collection of trees that grow within a city, town or a suburb, and includes any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements. Care and management of community forests is called urban forestry, because the local community plays a significant role in forest management and land use decision making.
  1. What kind of technology do we need to participate in Global Forest Link?
Participants need access to a computer that is connected to the Internet and a phone camera or digital camera.
  1. Do all Global Forest Link activities take place online?
No. GFL is a blended learning program that is comprised of a variety of hands-on field research, classroom activities, and online activities.
  1. What are Global Forest Link tutorials?
GFL tutorials are self-paced learning tools, comprised of presentations and videos, that provide step-by-step instructions explaining how each phase of the project works.
See Global Forest Link Tutorials
  1. Can students work alone or must they work in teams?
Students may work independently. However, for the best learning experience, we recommend that participants work in small teams of 2-4 students.
  1. What is the Global Forest Watch platform?
Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an innovative interactive online visualization system using satellite images to monitor forest dynamics and manage related environmental changes.
See What is Global Forest Watch Tutorial
  1. How many images and/or videos should each student collect for their project?
We recommend that students take 5 still photos and at least one video clip.
  1. How do students upload their images to the Global Forest Watch platform? 
Students will go into the forest of their choice to collect data and take photos. For each forest photo they  will fill out a paper form. Once they get back to their computers they transfer information from the paper form to the online form.  “How to collect images” tutorial describes how to collect and upload data and images and contains links to printable and online forms.
  1. How will our students participate in cross-cultural collaborations with students from other cities or countries?
Several interactive webinars are scheduled throughout the program for students to interact with participants in other cities and countries. The webinars are recorded and available for playback on-demand for those who cannot participate in the live event.
  1. What countries are participating in Global Forest Link?
Currently, there are GFL participants from the United States, Russia, Taiwan, Ecuador, and Hong Kong. GFL is always interested in expanding to new locations.
  1. What are digital stories?
Digital stories are mixed-media presentations that tell a story and can be shared online. They contain photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and often a voice narration.
See How to Create Your Digital Story
  1. What are the Global Forest Link “Digital Storytelling” Awards?
GFL Storytelling Awards recognize videos that tell an influential story about forest health in their local region. Topics can include trees and other vegetation located in wilderness areas, national parks, or urban forests that are being affected by climate factors, forest management practices, fires, drought, insect infestation, and human development. See GFL Digital Storytelling Awards   
  1. How will our Global Forest Link digital stories be evaluated?
GFL digital stories are evaluated using a numeric scoring tool called a rubric.
See GFL Digital Story Scoring Rubric
  1. What is STEM and STEAM. education?
STEM education refers to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEAM education incorporates the “A” for the Arts – recognizing that to be successful in technical fields, individuals must also be creative and use critical thinking skills which are best developed through exposure to the arts.
  1. What is project management and why is it important?
Project management, which is an important component of project-based learning,  is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore authentic, real-world problems and produce evidence of what they have learned. Project management consists of planning, organizing, and successfully completing the project learning activity on time.See Defining the Project Scope and Creating a Project Plan
  1. What is time management and why is it important?
Time management is the process of planning the amount of time spent on specific activities to successfully complete the project. Time management is often cited as the biggest obstacle to project-based learning.See Establishing a Timeline
  1. What is visual analysis?
Displaying data in a visual format is a helpful process in data analysis and interpretation. Although numerical data are initially compiled in tables, they are often displayed in a graphic form to help scientists visualize and interpret the variation, patterns, and trends within the data. Global Forest link Analyzing images tutorial shows how you can use “Survey Analysis via Visual Exploration” tool to analyze a collection of forest images and their metadata.
  1. How long has the Global Forest Link been running?
The pilot phase of GFL began in 2014, the project continues through the present.
  1. Who are the organizers of Global Forest Link?
Community-Commons and Global SchoolNet work in partnership to organize and facilitate Global Forest Link. Both are 501(c) non-profit organizations (NGOs).
  1. What is Community-Commons?
Community Commons is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to bridging advanced research and information management with community learning, human development and environmental sustainability. Community-Commons 
  1. What is Global SchoolNet?
Global SchoolNet (GSN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that engages educators and youth in e-learning projects worldwide, to develop science, math, literacy and communication skills, foster teamwork, civic responsibility and collaboration, encourage workforce preparedness, and create multi-cultural understanding. Founded in 1984, GSN supports 21st century, brain-friendly learning, and improves academic performance through content-driven collaboration to prepare youth for full participation as productive and compassionate citizens in an increasingly global economy. Global SchoolNet