Important note: The words and opinions expressed below belong to the corresponding individuals. These people work for a variety of organizations, both public and private, but when speaking here, they are speaking solely for themselves.
Happy parent of a middle schooler
“My daughter, Serena, loved playing your game at OSA, and it wasn’t more than a few weeks later that she found a chance to put some of her new learnings to use… We were evacuated from our home during the Springs Fire in May, and as we drove home after being away for a day, we were so sad to see all the black hills. From the back seat of the car, Serena began to share with us how the fire will be a benefit to many plants that need the wildfires to begin their growth. She was so happy to share what she’d learned from your game! What she shared gave us a bright moment of hope, knowing that there was benefit to the flames and we could look forward to beautiful new plants next year! So thank you for that bright moment.”
– Elizabeth Lee, 2013.06.19
Science Teacher and Dean of Students at Flintridge Preparatory School
Tim Handley was a student of mine 20 odd years ago. He was a wonderful science mind in the 8th grade. He came back to his high school to teach my current 7th grade class his fabulous game of Fire and Flora. The imagination and detail in this game is really unbelievable. The students became involved in playing and hardly looked up for the hour and a half they were playing. The game has some high level thinking concepts and the kids seemed to have really understood these ecological concepts. The students were active, thinking and having fun. What more can you ask for in an educational game.
– Midge Kimble 2013.06.19
Middle School Math and Science Teacher at the Open Classroom School in Ventura, CA
“I have recently had the pleasure to have students in our middle school program play Fire and Flora. On two separate occasions, 20-25 students were actively and enthusiastically engaged in this amazingly detailed and thoughtful game designed by Tim Handley. During my observations and assistance facilitating the game, I was able to see how connected students instantly became to a format of entertainment that they are so very used to. Utilizing the strategy and planning of this multi-player card game, our students were gaining an understanding of how complex and interconnected our natural world is.
The overall feelings and impressions of this gaming and learning experience by our students were those of excitement, interest and fun. Many could not wait to play again, and suggested we purchase several sets for the classroom! I highly recommend this game for students and teachers alike, and wish all the best to this project aimed at connecting students to science curriculum in ways that make sense to them.”
– Jeff Zimmerman 2013.06.18
Education Manager at NatureBridge Yosemite
“Fire and Flora is an educational gem. In the true sense of “edu-tainment” (educational entertainment), Fire and Flora teaches about the rich complexity of California ecosystems, while keeping adults and older children engaged in a strategic and enjoyable card game. In addition to simply teaching about particular plants and California-based ecosystems, the game teaches about the intricate interconnections between elements in a natural ecosystem. Fire ecology, native and invasive species interactions, habitat and hydrology are all integral elements of the game play.
While the content of this initial version of Fire and Flora is geared more towards coastal, chaparral, and foothill ecosystems, the game is engaging and educational no matter what ecosystem students live and learn in.
We have been piloting the program with instructors, and look forward to incorporating this into educational programming here in Yosemite, ideally as an additional element to our evening educational activities or as a resource for students to use and play during non-program time.
The rules are clearly laid out, and written in a personal and, at times, humorous way, making the complex elements of game play accessible to a wide range of players.
I really appreciate the intentional omission of heavy-handed environmentalist messaging. Rather than embedding environmental or political agenda in the game, players explore the basic elements of invasive species, fire ecology, etc. and are left to draw their own conclusions.”
– Arin Trook, 2013.06.05
Marti Witter, Ph.D.
“I am a great believer in learning through play and have been an early supporter of Fire and Flora. The game is a really fun way to learn about fire and its unexpected complexity. Try it!”
– Marti Witter, 2013.06.04
Jon Keeley, Ph.D.
Adjunct professor of ecology at UCLA.
“Fire and Flora is a good balance between content and fun. Fire has complex and varied effects upon California landscapes, and can be either good or bad depending on the details of the situation. The game does a good job of modeling that complexity, and illustrating some of the most important issues surrounding fire in California shrublands, including the dangers of invasive plants, and of excessively high fire frequencies. At the same time, it’s a well-designed game, and I think that it is a useful tool for communicating these ideas to both kids and adults. I hope to see this project come to a successful conclusion, and out in stores, schools, and homes.”
– Jon Keeley, 2013.05.15
6-8 grade teacher at the One Spark Academy, Thousand Oaks, CA
“Tim Handley came to my class yesterday to introduce my students to a game he developed called Fire and Flora. They loved it! We played for over an hour and they didn’t want to stop. Some played defensively, some played offensively, some were downright aggressive, but they all learned – I am sure of that. I think the biggest take-away for my students after playing the game was that every part of the ecosystem – humans, plants, animals and weather – are all interconnected. When one part is affected, we are all affected. I would highly recommend this game to teachers to add a lively element to their classes when teaching ecology.”
– Liza Scheer, 2013.04.26