Naturalist Talk About Trees

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Naturalist Blog | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago, Corinna, a Naturalist, and Alatna, a Student Naturalist attended the Forest Foundation’s Talk About Trees facilitator training. Talk About Trees, or TAT, is a program that is dedicated to educating elementary aged students about California’s forest ecosystems and “responsible stewardship and management.” They do this by providing “balanced, science-based information on environmental, economic, and societal uses of forest resources.”

Paul Bunyon

The majority of TAT facilitators visit students in their own classrooms and provide a one hour presentation on tree physiology, forest management including fire ecology, laws and regulations, and associated careers. Shady Creek facilitators have an advantage in that we get to present all of this information in an actual forest. From tree identification to tree biology and the photosynthesis process, to the Carbon, Nitrogen, and Water Cycles, all are taught outside, where kids can see real-life examples of all the different “players” in a forest ecosystem.

Sas and Kids

During the facilitator training, Alatna and Corinna had the opportunity to visit a real-life logging operation, located just 25 miles from Shady Creek. The land is owned by an individual, but he leases it out to Sierra Pacific to log. On this land there were various harvest methods going on, like selective logging, where a machine goes in and pulls out a tree here and a tree there, while leaving other trees to grow more.


They also saw what a clear-cut looks like in California. Clear-cuts in California are allowed to be no bigger than 20 acres, most logging companies and the Forest Service do not go bigger than 15 acres. The reason they keep the size small, compared to other states is because a size around 15 acres mimics natural disturbances, like fire and wind. Foresters are also required to re-plant every acre they harvest, 300 trees per acre, according to the law.

Alatna and Corinna also had the opportunity to learn all about tree products, including fun games to incorporate into their lessons.

Forest Products

After attending this training, Corinna and Alatna feel enthused and motivated to bring new ideas and activities to some of our classes and our ‘Day in the Forest’ program. The TAT program is great in that it really focuses on the importance of trees being a renewable resource while combining information about the environmental, societal, and economic benefits our forests provide.

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