Free Nature Studies: Trees

Besides fruits and nuts for food and wood, we receive many benefits from trees!

Read the current chapter online: “Friendly Trees”

  • An illustrated tree guide will be handy to have on hand for this lesson. You’ll find recommendations below.
  • Look in your illustrated tree guide, or in Trees Worth Knowing by Julia Ellen Rogers, or out your own front window, and decide which tree “you like best of all.” What about that particular tree makes it your favorite?
  • Add the trees mentioned in the lesson to your plant notebook:
  • Read the poem “Birches” by Robert Frost.
  • Picture your favorite tree in each of the four seasons. Take a piece of paper and fold it into four sections. Label the sections spring, summer, fall and winter. Draw a picture of what your favorite tree looks like in each season. You’ll find helps in the resources below.
  • Make a list of trees used for food. You can use this guide from the University of Illinois to get you started.
  • Make a list of five articles around the house that are made from wood. Include what type of wood they are made from, and why that type of wood was chosen.
  • You can read about the Johnstown Flood at the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.
  • Research the benefits of trees, including soil conservation. (See resources below for help.)
  • Try the tree/water experiment with cuttings. Use one of these science experiment notebooking pages at to record the results.
  • Jotham’s fable can be read in Judges 9:8-15.
  • Read Isaiah 61:3, and Matthew 7:18. Then copy Proverbs 20:11.
  • Something to do #1: You’ll find tree observation sheet and plant charts below.  Or just use a simple Drawing & Writing Paper to record your observations.
  • Something to do #2: Download the Celebrate Arbor Day Guidebook (see resources below).
  • Something to do #3: Read the story of “The Honorable Crimson Tree.”
  • Something to do #4: If you would like to draw favorite trees in your community, you might enjoy these tree-drawing instructions at
  • Something to do #5: Take a Tree Walk. See resources below for more information on this handy book.
  • Read the poem “Trees” by Alfred Joyce Kilmer.
  • Memorize Psalm 1:3 or Jeremiah 17:7,8 and use for copywork or dictation.
  • Read Psalm 92:12-14 out loud.
  • More about trees from the Book of Knowledge:

A tall, spreading tree is one of the grandest sights in nature. However, the majestic oak or maple, the graceful elm, the somber spruce do not differ in the way they grow from small shrubs or from the lowliest herb or moss. For convenience, trees are often classed as evergreen and deciduous. Among the evergreens, the leaves fall singly throughout the year so that the tree is never bare. In general, the term “evergreen” is used for the cone-bearing trees, or conifers, such as the pine and the spruce. But some evergreen trees, such as the holly, are not cone-bearing; and some conifers, such as the larch and the bald cypress, are not evergreens but lose their leaves in winter.

The deciduous trees are well known to us; the oak, the birch and the hickory, the elm and maple are all deciduous. They lose their leaves in the winter and grow fresh leaves in the spring. The deciduous trees are sometimes called hardwoods. In some cases their wood, as in the oak, is indeed very hard, but in some of them — like the poplar, the basswood or the tulip tree — the wood is soft. Deciduous trees are broad-leaved.

“The Life of a Tree,” 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.

Further Investigation

Types of Trees
Basic classifications by duration of leaf, flowers and branching at

Why Leaves Change Color
The four pigments and other info.

How Does a Tree Grow?
Answers aimed at younger readers at the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Benefits of Trees
A list of benefits.

Wood You Believe We Get So Much From Trees?
A list of products from wood from the Idaho Forest Products Commission.

Tree Guide
From the Arbor Day Foundation.

What Tree Is That?
Tree identification guide also from the Arbor Day Foundation.


Season Trees
Simple activity at that illustrates how a deciduous tree looks in each of the four seasons.

National Tree Benefit Calculator
Want to know what benefits a particular tree in your area provides?

Grow a Tree
Instructions at the BBC.

Draw Trees Using Basic Shapes
Arbor Rangers activity page.


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!

Free Nature Studies: Trees

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Trees
There are others to choose from, but with several on the shelf, this one gets the lion’s share of use. Also available in Western edition.

Trees Worth Knowing by Julia Ellen Rogers
Nicely illustrated public domain download.

Tree Guide: Trees East of the Rockies by Julia Ellen Rogers
By the same author, a small public-domain identification guide.

Free Nature Studies: Trees

Take a Tree Walk by Jane Kirkland
A book that guides you through a tree walk: what to take, identifying trees, mapping, ideas for things to do, and recording your observations (some forms provided).

The World of Plants

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

How Trees Work for Us
Lesson plan at that explores the benefits and products we receive from trees.

Tree Observation and Identification
Lesson plan at the Central Park Conservancy (NYC).

Celebrate Arbor Day Guidebook
24-page download that includes the history of Arbor Day, ideas for celebrating the day, classroom activities (most are adaptable to a home setting), information on how to plant a tree, poetry, songs, quotes, and a bibliography for those seeking more information.

Identifying Trees and Developing a Class Herbarium
Lesson plan for a tree walk lab with helpful charts and checklist downloads at the USDA Forest Service.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

An Apple Tree Through the Seasons of the Year
Printout to color and label at

Four Season Tree
Printable from Eclectic Education that can be used to show a deciduous tree in each of the four seasons.

Meet the Conifers
Nature journal page from Ranger Rick.

Plant Growth Monitoring
Plant growth charts at the Washington Native Plant Society.

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

Friendly Trees Notebooking Pages
Simple set of pages that goes with the lesson for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.

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

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