FSL Membership criteria

FSL membership requirements overview (please contact FSL for detailed requirement descriptions): 


Program director and lead instructor qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree

  • CPR/First Aid certification child-adult

  • Wilderness first aid certification, and/or Wilderness First Responder certification if your site location is more than 1 hour from the nearest emergency medical unit

  • Training/professional development hours in: 

    • Child development (college credit or certified professional development courses)

    • Forest/nature-based education (via ERAFANS, Forest School Association, etc)

  • Naturalist skills (Master Naturalist training, Living Earth-type programming approved by FSL)

  • Continuing education credits every year


Assistant instructor qualifications:

  • HS diploma; ages 18+

  • 60 hours of training/professional development hours in a related field (child development, forest/nature-based education, naturalist skills, etc.)


Professional portfolio of your team structure including:

  • Parent and staff handbook and detailed description of your program outlining how you are meeting FSL best practice standards including a 1:6 adult:child ratio for children aged 4+, 1:5 for ages 3+, 1:4 for ages 2+, and 1:3 for children under 2-years-old

  • First aid kit on site 

  • “Leave No Trace”

  • Toileting and sanitation practices

  • Daily hazard checks

  • Snack mid-morning, and lunch if program is longer than 3 hours

  • Rest time if program is longer than 4.5 hours

  • FSL weather closure policy regarding dangerous temps, storms, and high winds, etc. 

  • Emergency preparedness plan

  • Professional risk assessment site report (format available in FSL documents section)

  • Background checks for all adults working with the children

  • Keeping attendance

  • Children’s medical records

  • Site visit assessment and observation 

  • Yearly renewal application and full re-evaluation every 4 years