Keywords: stewardship, forest management; Grade Level: kindergarten (ES); Total Time for Lesson: 20 minutes; Setting: outdoors, classroom

Concepts to Be Covered

  • A forest is made up of many important parts.

  • Forest stewardship is the responsible use and planning of forestland management.

  • The public is able to practice forest stewardship in a variety of ways.

Goals for the Lesson

  • Children will know that a forest is made up of many different working parts.

  • Children will discover that forest stewardship is the responsible use and planning of forestland management.

  • Children will realize that they can be a forest "friend" or steward.

Teaching Model: Focus-Explore-Reflect-Apply Learning Cycle

Introduction to the Lesson

Ask: "What do you think when you hear the word forest?" Listen and respond to student input. [Show a photograph or drawing of a forest.] Explain that it is correct that forests have many trees, but forests have many interesting parts! Today we are going to find out about these parts as well as what we can do to help keep the forest beautiful!

Activity #l: Focus Phase, 5 minutes

Brainstorm a list of things found in the forest with the children. This list will in part help you with the following activity. Display the "mind map" [see Appendix 1 (22K pdf)]. Explain each part of the forest in basic terms. Give special attention to the decomposers (they eat animals and plants that are dead). Discuss that all the parts work together so that the forest is healthy. Each part must be doing its job so that the forest stays in good working condition.

Activity #2: Explore Phase, 5 minutes

If possible, take the children on a short nature walk to a forested area nearby so they may observe the parts of the forest noted on the "mind map." Children carry a small notebook or clipboard to record what they see. Return to the classroom. Discuss student observations.

Activity #3: Reflect Phase, 5 minutes

The following text will fuel a discussion on forest stewardship. It was taken directly from From the Woods: Forest Stewardship (Penn State Cooperative Extension, Adam K. Downing, Sanford S. Smith, James C. Finley, and Shelby E. Chunko).

Stewardship means being responsible for something and taking good care of it such as protecting your belongings and using them carefully without harming or wasting them. So whether we use a forest for hiking, hunting, or getting wood, we need to be good forest "stewards" so that the other people can use the forest today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.

Even though you may not own a forest, you can still be a forest steward. You are a forest steward when you choose to use products from renewable resources (e.g., trees). You are a forest steward when you recycle wood and paper products. You are a forest steward when you keep the forest beautiful by not littering. You are a forest steward when you don't hurt plants and trees (without good reason). Someday, you might have a forest of your own. You will be a forest steward when you plan for and choose to do the things in your forest that keep it healthy and useful for plants, wildlife, and people.

Talk about the many benefits of the forest habitat. Elicit student dialogue to answer the question: "What can you do to keep the forest healthy and useful?"

Children will respond to the worksheet "I'm a 'Forest Friend' because . . . " after the above discussion on forest stewardship [see Appendix 2 (14K pdf)].

Activity #4: Apply Phase, 5 minutes

Activity #4 is taken directly from Trees for the Future, PP&L, Inc., 1998 [see Appendix 3 (10K pdf)]. The activity "Points of View" allows the children to think about the different perspectives relating to forest stewardship. It gives them a chance to see that people and animals have different ideas and plans for a tree.


The assessment will be a combination of teacher observation during discussions, nature walk reports, worksheets, and student responses to the "Points of View" activity.

Conclusion to the Lesson

"Today you've discovered what it means to be a 'forest friend'or steward. I hope that when you visit the forest you will remember all the great things you can do to help!"


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

PP&L, Inc. (1998). Trees for the Future.


Marguerite Wills, Williamsport Area School District