Trees & Plants
Pennsylvania is growing—trees and plants continue to live up to the commonwealth’s beginnings as “Penn’s Woods.” Whether it’s identifying trees (year round!) or making your own paper, there are lots of activities kids and do with trees and plants.
Learn the basics of tree ID.
Make your own Tree ID cards.
Make your own Spring Flower Bulb ID cards.
Adopt a tree. Find a special tree. Watch it grow and change with the seasons. Document what you see. Draw pictures or take photos. Annually, measure how tall it is and what its diameter is at breast height. Go here for descriptions on how to measure a tree.
Make a bark rubbing. Use a white piece of paper and a crayon. What kind of bark does it have; smooth, rough? What type of bark do the trees have in your backyard or neighborhood park?
Take a seed hike! Look for different kinds of seeds. Acorns and pinecones are examples of seeds. What others can you find?
Experiment. How do Plants Get Water?
Make your OWN paper! Go here to learn how.
Plant a tree!
What to Read
Learn a little more about trees while curling up with a good book.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- Around One Log by Anthony Fredericks; includes pages for field notes and activities
- Shelterwood by Susan Shetterly
- Someday A Tree by Eve Bunting
- Once There Was A Tree by Natalia Romanova and Gennady Spirin
- Take a Tree Walk by Jane Kirkland
- A Fruit Is a Suitcase for Seeds by Richards
- Common Trees of Pennsylvania
- Summer Key of Pennsylvania Trees
- Peterson First Guide to Trees
- Peterson First Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-Central North America
- Take Along Guide to Nuts, Seeds & Berries by Burns
- Field Guides: Trees by Julivert; a field guide just for kids
- Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb
- Peterson First Guide to Wildflowers
- Pocket Naturalist Guide to Trees
Other Cool Pages
Hemlock – state tree (Tsuga canadensis)
Mountain Laurel – state flower (Kalmia latifolia)
Exploring Careers Outdoors (ECO) Camp – If you’re a high school and are interested in a career in the natural sciences or conservation ECO Camp is for you. You’ll meet and get to interact with professionals; such as foresters, wildlife biologists, geologists and many others; all while recreating in beautiful state parks. You’ll also be able to choose a mentor. The mentor can help connect you to future camp, volunteer or job opportunities, they could write a letter of recommendation for college or even help you navigate the state hiring process. Apply today!
Become a citizen scientist! A citizen scientist is someone just like you, who observe nature, record what they see and then share their information with researchers and professional scientists. The scientists then use your information, and information from thousands of other people, to answer important questions like ‘Are blooming earlier in the spring than they did 10 years ago?’ Use a link below to get started.
Plant a native trees and plants in your backyard or neighborhood
Become a conservation volunteer