4. Learn about your native trees

Native trees are unique. They are a link to past landscapes and are often the best choice to plant today. In most cities, the majority of trees are exotic, non-native species. Native trees are a crucial piece of local environments for birds, animals and insects. As our neighborhoods grow, groves of native trees continue to disappear.


Areas of Interest: Looking Around, Thinking and Investigating, Walking
Ingredients: Comfortable shoes, pen and paper, tree identification guide
Directions: Visit your local library, nursery, NeighborWoods organization or other urban forestry organization (if there is one), or the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service’s local office to compile a list of your area’s native tree species. Explore designated natural areas to find these native varieties. Read about the rich ecosystems in which these trees thrive. Learn the other plants, animals, insects and birds commonly associated with your local trees. Determine which animals rely on your native trees. Identify the benefits these trees offered indigenous people, for example: medicines, foods or fiber.
With your new knowledge, look for the native trees in your immediate area. Observe what birds, animals and insects are found there. Should you decide to plant a tree, consider planting a native.
ANECDOTES/QUOTES/FACTOIDS Air darkens, air cools And the first rain is heard in the great elms A drop for each leaf, before it reaches the ground I am still alive.
-John Fuller