Tree Trip Around the World
Grade Appropriate Level: K-4
Materials: paper, poster board (for collage), paint, crayons, markers
It’s easy to become aware of nature, even if you live in a city. Just take a look at the nearest tree – a marvel of nature that’s rooted in the soil, provides a home to birds and insects and gives shade to you and me. Activities for each age group will help you grow in awareness of than natural world and explore ways you can take action.
These activities for ages 5-9 will are designed to learn more about trees and their animal friends around the world.
Suggested Instructional Strategies:
1. Whooo lives in that tree?
What kinds of trees grow in your area? What kinds of animals make their homes there? These websites below will help you recognize common trees in British Columbia, and learn more about the wildlife who may be living there.
Print some of your favourite photos and make your own guidebook to trees in your neighbourhood!
Tree Book: Learning to Recognize Trees of B.C.
The Forest Academy (check out their tree photo album) Boreal Forests
Kids learn about Tundra, Desert, Grasslands, Forests and More
University of B.C. Botanical Gardens (they also have experts who can answer class questions)
Photo Credit: Bird Watching HQ
British Columbia has a lot of trees, but it isn’t the only place where trees grow! The world-famous Smithsonian Institution has information on more than 70 forest labs in 28 countries where trees grow. Visit and discover what each of them is like.
You can print the photos and compare them to what you see around you. With the photos you’ve printed, make a collage that compares the trees and animals found in your community with those found in different parts of the world, like a jungle perhaps. Use paint, crayons or markers to decorate your collage and add titles, borders etc.
2. Where does that tree live?
Choose a forest area in BC (i.e. BC coastal mountains). Visit some of the websites listed below and find out what the main type of tree is in that area. Choose one tree (such as the Douglas-fir) and read its characteristics and preferred climate.
Tree Book: Learning to Recognize Trees of British Columbia
Next, visit an international tree site. Choose a tree and research its favourite growing conditions. Then answer the following questions:
What are the similarities and differences between the two trees? Could those two trees exchange homes? Why or why not?
Did you know that Canada has over 10,000 trees per person? According to Yale University, there are 422 trees for each person on Earth! Canada's total of 8,953 trees per person makes it a world leader when it comes to forests!
Extension: If you’re interested in “greening” your school grounds by planting some trees, ask your teacher or parent to apply for a grant at TreeCanada. Ensure you have the approval of the school management with identified areas you may plant trees.
3. Animal Homes
What kinds of animals can be found in the tree regions of BC? In your yard? In your schoolyard?
Find photos of trees and the animals that share this home. You can find photos on the Internet, clip from magazines or draw them yourself. Make a collage or create a storybook with the pictures you have collected.
Could you take those animals and move them somewhere else in the world to live? Why or why not? For example, could an African giraffe survive in BC? A giraffe lives at the Greater Vancouver Zoological Centre. How is this possible? Email or Call them and find out!
During the Cariboo gold rush of the 1860s, prospectors used camels in the Fraser Canyon. Some survived for several decades. How was that possible?
Canada sent some of its wolves to Yellowstone Park in the US to help re-introduce wolves to the wilderness there. How are they surviving?
These sites will introduce you to some of the world’s wild animals and their habitats:
BC Wildlife Data and Information
BC Plants, Animals and Ecosystems
4. From a tree to a totem
How did British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples use trees? Visit the Royal BC Museum to see for yourself!
Today, many First Nations have agreements with the government that regulate their use of trees. To learn more, invite an Indigenous presenter to your school or speak with your local First Nation. Can you bring some samples of Indigenous tree products into your classroom and do a short presentation with the teacher’s permission? Check out the booklet called Indigenous Faces of Forestry.
FORED has one called Our Journeys, which features first-person profiles of Indigenous people working in the natural resource sector, integrating traditional knowledge. You can also view videos with Indigenous leaders at our YouTube channel.
Indigenous foresters and speakers may also be available through the Association of BC Forest Professionals.
Now visit some of the international tree photo sites listed below and print photos of trees and resident animals found in other countries.
Jungle Animal photos (Unsplash)
5. Working with trees & animals
What kinds of careers can you think of that may be associated with trees and animals? Some of the ones that are in popular include vet, gardener, farmer, park ranger and conservation officer. What do you like to do? How can you use your skills to care for plants and animals?
Talk to family members and other adults to see if their jobs are related to forestry and nature. An accountant may work for a forest company or an environmental group. Are these forestry careers too?
To learn more about forestry careers, visit the websites below. A good start is to
volunteer in students’ desired industry/sector first.
Environmental Careers Organization Canada
Alberta Council for Environmental Education
WorkBC Forests Careers (cool video here)
First Nations in Sustainability Careers (FORED BC)
Volunteering In Your Community websites: