DIY Homeschooler

Tools for the Homeschool Handy-Mom

Free Nature Studies: Fruit Trees and Forests

Free Nature Studies: Fruit Trees and Forests

Free Nature Studies: Fruit Trees and Forests

We have a role to play in protecting the trees that provide us shade, beauty, and service.

Read the current chapter online: “Fruit Trees and Forests”

  • Read The Tree Book by Inez McFee.
  • Make a list of all of the enemies of the tree you have seen.
  • Add a page to your notebook for each type of tree enemy lists. (Insects, fungus, birds, fire, man and animal). Under each heading list several examples. Include those from your own list above.
  • You can read about girdling done by rodents (and see a picture by scrolling down) at the Washington State University Extension. Girdling can also be done intentionally to increase the fruit harvest as shown at the University of California.
  • To investigate the fruit insect pests in your area, try an extension center in your state, such as this one for Arizona, or Indiana. You may also find this list of fruit tree insect pests and photographs at West Virginia University helpful.
  • Read about San Jose scale at Virginia Tech.
  • Learn how to identify the various plant galls, and what to do about them, at the Morton Arboretum. Again, for more information on what you are likely to see in your area, consult your local extension center.
  • Read about a variety of fungal diseases in plants at the University of Arizona. Consult your local extension center to add those in your area to your list.
  • Not all fungi is bad. (You’ve likely eaten mushrooms, right?) Learn about fungi. You’ll find resources below.
  • You can read about the Department of Agriculture’s current role when it comes to plant health at their site.
  • You can also read about the US Forest Service’s current projects.
  • Investigate the various ways the US Forest Service manages fire.
  • Want to become a Junior Forest Ranger?
  • You’ll find a variety of resources for growing trees in the last lesson, Friendly Trees.
  • You can read the story referred to in the lesson about the tale of how Mr. Mills read the life history of a pine in The Story of a Thousand-Year Pine by Enos A. Mills.
  • Make a list of the tree-ring features listed in the lesson and what they may mean.
  • Learn more about how to read a tree’s rings at the Arbor Day Foundation. You’ll find more resources below.
  • Something to do #1: There were many ideas listed in the lesson for how young people can play an active role in preserving the forests. Instead of making a list in the first activity, commit to carrying out one of those ideas. (Plant a tree, join the Junior Forest Rangers, become familiar with the diseases and insect enemies of the trees in your area, etc.)
  • Something to do #2: You’ll find information to help write the story by reading about the various careers available at the US Forest Service.
  • Something to do #3: For a list of those trees mentioned in the Bible visit
  • Something to do #4: The trees thought to be longest on earth are the bristlecone pines located in California. You can read about them at PBS Nova.
  • Something to do #5: If you can’t get a tree section, you’ll find resources below that you can use instead.
  • Something to do #6: Instead of writing the US Forest Service, you can simply access their website, or better yet, download publications from your local extension center.
  • Something to do #7: Refer back to Lesson IX: Bird Guardians for help.
  • Something to do #8: You’ll find helps below for making a Bible Tree Book.
  • Memorize and recite Matthew 7:17-20.
  • More about trees from the Book of Knowledge:

The development of a national-forest system received its greatest impetus under President Theodore Roosevelt…. Headquarters of the Forest Service are in the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

The forest supervisor is the general manager of a national forest. Under him are several rangers, each in charge of a ranger district. The ranger supervises and arranges sales of timber, issues grazing permits and looks after visitors. He has charge of keeping roads and trails in good condition. He oversees the camp grounds and other improvements. He is responsible for prevention and control of forest fires.

In the early days, rangers traveled over their districts on horseback and moved their supplies with pack animals. Now they have automobiles and trucks. Airplanes sometimes are used to scout big fires or to carry emergency supplies. In some regions there are mountain trails that can still be traveled only on horseback or afoot….

A bolt of lightning, a carelessly discarded cigarette or neglected campfire can start a flame in the forest. The flame may spread to the underbrush and begin licking the trunks of trees. If the season is dry and the wind is blowing, soon a raging fire may eat up the forest in great snatches. Animals or humans have little chance of escape if they are hemmed in by a roaring forest fire. Once seen, a forest fire can never be forgotten, nor can the sight of a fire-eaten lifeless forest.

Night and day during the season when fires are most dangerous, forest rangers and their assistants are on the alert. Men are stationed at high points called fire lookouts. Smoke is the signal for fire fighters to be rushed to the scene. With shovels, axes and other tools they work to clear a line around the fire and so prevent its spread….

Most of the states have forestry departments, which manage their forest lands and maintain fire controls. The state forestry departments also supply trees for planting. They conduct programs urging fire prevention and encouraging good forest management.

“The Forest and Its Guardians,” The Book of Knowledge
  • Plants
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature Study covers trees beginning on page 618, and continuing through page 692. The beginning pages cover the parts of a tree, the way a tree grows, and how to begin a tree study. Then follow guidelines for investigating specific types of trees. Information on tree rings and fruit trees is included. You’ll also find “Mushrooms and Other Fungi” beginning on page 714 through page 731 in the flowerless plant section.

Further Investigation

Commercial Tree Fruit Production Guide
Large download covering everything you need to know about fruit tree management at (Utah State University Extension).

Rodent Management
Information from the Colorado State University Extension and Utah State University Cooperative Extension fruit production guide mentioned above.

Fruit Tree Disease Index
Very helpful guide with photos at West Virginia University.

To Be or Not To Be a Gall
Everything you could possibly want to know about galls at

Know Your Enemy
A look at poisonous mushrooms at

Stems and Rings
Information on how tree rings are formed and how to read them at

Plants of the Bible
Large list of plants and trees mentioned in the Bible at Old Dominion University. Click through for more information and pictures.

U.S. Forest Service: An Overview   
52-page download at the U.S. Forest Service explaining what the agency does. Helpful maps in the back will work well for notebook.


Fungus Garden
Grow an experimental fungus garden!

How to Make a Spore Print
Fun mushroom activity at the North American Mycological Association that helps you see the spores.

Mushroom Dissection Lab
Guided lab for observing mushrooms for older students also at the North American Mycological Association.

Junior Forest Ranger Adventure Guide
From the U.S. Forest Service.

Boy Scouts of America merit badge workbook.

Build a Tree-Ring Timeline
Interactive activity from NOVA (PBS).

The First Book of Trees {Free eBook}

The First Book of Trees {Free eBook}
Free public domain title that makes an excellent introduction to trees and tracks wonderfully with our study!

Common Trees ~ Free eBook
Contains illustrations that will work very well for a notebook!

The Tree Book by Inez N. McFee
Book recommended in the lesson includes enemies of the tree, and the forester and his work.

Firebrands by Davis and Martin
Firefighting — including forest fires.

Free Nature Studies

The World of Plants by Dinah Zike
Dinah Zike was known for her foldables before lapbooks became popular. In this book she incorporates that learning tool with learning about plants. Includes 24 complete lessons including templates, activities, the scientific method and suggestions for further activities and research. You’ll find an example lesson at the publisher’s website. Lessons on roots, stems and leaves are included.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Mushroom Education Packet
53-page download at the American Mushroom Institute with lesson plans covering the history of mushrooms, how mushrooms grow, and the parts of mushrooms. Also includes growth experiments and charts, recipes, and several diagrams fitting for a notebook. From the American Mushroom Institute.

Fun With Fungi in the Classroom
Lesson plans for a mushroom unit exploring the good, the bad and the ugly.

Smokey Bear: A Unit Study on Fire & Fire Safety

Smokey Bear: A Unit Study on Fire & Fire Safety
Our own unit covering forest fires.

Celebrate Arbor Day Guidebook
24-page download from the Arbor Day Foundation that includes information on planting trees.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Mushroom Structure
Beautiful printables at

Mushroom Diagrams
Very nice diagrams from the North American Mycological Association suitable for notebook.

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

Fruit Trees & Forests Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, and Something to Do #1 and #2.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World

Last Updated:

More Tools

Create a website or blog at