Keywords: forest products, renewable, non-timber, energy, ecology, environment, recreation; Grade Level: eleventh and twelfth grade; Total Time for Lesson: two class periods of 45 minutes; Setting: classroom

Concepts to Be Covered

  • Forest resources are renewable resources. Alternative products are usually from nonrenewable resources.
  • Many forest products are not readily apparent as such.
  • There are many nontimber forest products and resources.
  • Forest stewardship involves astute consumerism and is the responsibility of all Pennsylvanians, not only forest owners.
  • The Williamsport area has many job opportunities in forest product industries.

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will realize their deep reliance on forest products in our technological society.
  • Students will be able to make informed choices between renewable resource products and products from nonrenewable resources.
  • Students will view recreational uses of forest as a renewable resource that must be utilized in a responsible, caring manner.
  • Students will view themselves as forest stewards even if their families do not own forestlands.


  • publications cited
  • collection of examples of forest products including nontimber products


  1. Read People and Trees , From the Woods: Hardwood Lumber , and From the Woods: Forest Stewardship (see references). These publications may be handed out previous to the lesson and the reading assigned as homework.
  2. Discuss renewable versus nonrenewable resources. Stress the renewable nature of Pennsylvania forests. Discuss the idea of forest stewardship and the importance of good stewardship toward renewable resources. Discuss the lumber and forest product industry in the Williamsport area stressing the job opportunities. Discuss the recreational opportunities in the forests and the responsibilities that are associated with these opportunities. Stress recreation as a renewable resource. Discuss the white-tailed deer problem and how the deer affect the renewable resource (be careful, very touchy subject).
  3. Assign a short writing assignment for the next day. The students should inventory their lives (e.g., home, work, school, and recreation) for forest products.
  4. Discuss the previous day's assignment and develop a master list on the chalkboard or overhead. Read From the Woods: Maple Syrup and From the Forest . Demonstrate the large number of forest products, both timber and non-timber, using the collection of examples. Discuss and demonstrate some alternative products that are derived from nonrenewable resources. Compare and contrast the cost and benefits of each type of product. Stress the importance of being an informed consumer and making choices that positively affect our resources. Assign the essay.


  1. Students will receive a homework grade for the forest products inventory assigned on the first day of the lesson.
  2. The students will be assigned an essay on the second day of the lesson. They must answer two questions in the essay and use the publications read for this lesson as resources. They must answer the following two questions: What forest products are the most important or critical for our technological society? What is your favorite forest product?


Smith, Sanford S., Roy Adams, and Anni Davenport (2002). From the Woods: Hardwood Lumber . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford S., Adam K. Downing, James C. Finley, and Shelby E. Chunko (2000). From the Woods: Forest Stewardship . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

Smith, Sanford S., Anni Davenport, and Roy Adams (2000). From the Woods: Maple Syrup. University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.

From the Forest: The Products We Get from Trees. Volume 1, Forests Number 3, From the Forest, EIN-4 11/97. Georgia-Pacific.

People and Trees: A Look at the Many Uses of Trees. Volume 3, Trees Number 1, People & Trees, EIN-5 11/97. Georgia-Pacific.


Richard D. Hill, Williamsport Area High School