WSU Whatcom County Extension

Stewardship is Where You Are

Park Patrol

The Big Picture

While many parks may contain forests, a lot of the forests you may see may owned by individuals and families. Would you like to own a forest? What would you do with a forest if you owned one? What do you think is involved in caring for a forest? How are forests a natural resource?

In this series of activities you will get to learn some of the basics of owning a forest: keeping it healthy, making it strong and recognizing its potential as a renewable natural resource. Unlike many food crops that are renewed every year, a crop of timber sometimes only matures once in a lifetime! Caring for a forest as an investment can be a big job!  You will learn some of the basics about caring for a forest as a natural resource.

Explorer - Skill Level: One Engager - Skill Level: Two Citizen Scientist - Skill Level: Three


Examing Root Rot

Activity:  What’s Eating You?

Objective: Identify a variety of invasive forest insects, diseases and conditions that affect the health of forests

Science Skills:  Identification, Collect Data, Compare and Contrast, Evaluate, Make inferences.

Life Skills: Wise Use of Resources, Disease Prevention

Preparation Activities:
Call ahead to see if you can schedule a field trip to one of the forestry sites.

What You Will Need:  field guides, books/websites on forest and human health (see Explore More)

Activity 1: Visit an ailing forest
Youth should be familiar with some common tree diseases of the Northwest. Schedule a forest to tour to learn more or see if they can identify symptoms. Check it’s all connected to tour local forests, and request to see diseased trees. 
Additional Activity: Create a display about tree diseases you discover.

Activity 2:  Comparing Diseases

This activity is an exercise in making comparisons and thinking creatively.  As each youth to pick a tree disease they have learned about and then to search for a disease that humans can develop that has similarities. 

Asking the Right Questions:
What are the similarities between tree diseases and human diseases? What do foresters do to control tree diseases differently from how doctors treat human diseases? What is the same?  Are there preventative measures in caring for a forest?  Are there preventative measures for looking after your own health? Besides insects and parasites and diseases, what are other threats to the survival of a forest?



Natural Resource Stewards


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Explore More

What’s Eating My Forest? WSU Spokane Tree Pathogens

Top 20 Diseases of NW Trees

Forest Health Protection

Human Illnesses

Human Disease Directory for Youth

It’s All Connected:

Black Mountain Ranch
Marcy Bartelds

Diane Garmo – local forest owner

Tom Westergreen – local forest owner
Sumas/Everson  966-3605

Interested in helping youth learn about this Natural Resource? Contact your 4-H Educator to be considered as an educational resource!

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WSU Whatcom County Extension, 1000 North Forest Street, Suite 201, Bellingham, WA 98225, (360) 778-5800, Contact Us