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Introduction to Urban & Community Foresty: Why Do We Need Trees?

Keywords: urban forestry, community forestry, function, aesthetics, values; Lesson Plan Grade Level: twelfth grade; Class Size: 20 students; Total Time Required for Lesson: 50 minutes as one continuous time block; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will describe how trees have been used historically in urban settings.
  • Students will describe the many uses of trees in an urban setting.
  • Students will discuss the aesthetic values of trees.
  • Students will describe how trees affect air pollution.
  • Students will explain the effect trees have on noise reduction.
  • Students will explain how trees place oxygen in the air.
  • Students will describe how trees cool the temperature.
  • Students will discuss the uses of trees as windbreaks.
  • Students will explain how trees control erosion.
  • Students will describe how trees benefit wildlife.

Materials Needed

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources (4.2); Environmental Health (4.3); Humans and the Environment (4.8)

Subjects Covered: forestry, environmental science, history 

Topics: urban and community forestry, tree values, quality of life

Preparation

Obtain materials several days before the start of class. Make sure that all materials are complete and unused. Organize and place materials in order on students' desks.

Introduction

"[Rhetorical] Why do we need trees in urban environments? Although this sounds like a simple question, there are a number of ways to answer it. Our objectives today are to explore the number of ways that community trees can improve our quality of life, and to also gain insight into the historical significance of urban forestry in the United States."

Activity

  1. Place "What Do Trees Do?" transparency on the overhead projector and instruct students to read from the copies at their desks. The instructor will read the introductory paragraphs aloud and then call on different students for the remaining 10 bulleted statements. Follow up reading with questions such as, "Has anyone ever been to an environment without any trees? What would it look like? What would it sound like?" (Time: 10-15 minutes)
  2. Place "Timeline: Urban and Community Forestry in Pennsylvania" transparency on the overhead projector and instruct students to follow from the copies at their desks. Students will take turns (clockwise rotation) in reading aloud the dates and events of the timeline. (Time: 10 minutes)
  3. When the timeline has been read up to 1996, instruct students to continue the timeline to the year 2026. What changes or trends do you envision in the future of urban and community forestry? What will happen locally in Lancaster County? in Pennsylvania? Nationally? Globally? (Time: 10-12 minutes)
  4. Divide students into groups of three to share and discuss their individual timelines. Do the groups have a shared vision? How do group members' timelines differ? (Time: 7-10 minutes)
  5. Assign Forest Stewardship No. 14: Backyard Trees ,
    PA Wildlife No. 7: Landscaping for Wildlife: Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
    , and
    Planting Trees in Your Community Forest
    for further reading.

Assessment

Essay Assignment: After reading Forest Stewardship No. 14: Backyard Trees and completing this lesson, do you consider community trees to most valuable environmentally, economically, or aesthetically? Back up your response with literature citations. (25 points)

Conclusion

"This concludes today's lesson. Today we began our unit on urban and community forestry. We focused on exploring the number of ways that trees in urban environments can improve our quality of life, as well as their historical significance in our communities throughout our nation's history. We will learn more specific information in the assigned readings, and shall apply that knowledge when writing the essay on community tree values. Tomorrow we will take a field trip to study the utilization of trees in various urban settings."

References

Elmendorf, Bill, Shelby Chunko, and Rance Harmon (2001). Forest Stewardship No. 14: Backyard Trees. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Elmendorf, Bill, and Sanford Smith (1999). Planting Trees in Your Community Forest . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Sherrill, Ursula, and Margaret Brittingham (2001). PA Wildlife No. 7: Landscaping for Wildlife: Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

University of Georgia Agriculture Education - Urban & Community Forestry Lesson plan (course 3454)

http://www.lpb.org/programs/forest/lesson2.html

Author

Sian M. Bailey, Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, Brownstown, PA