Two publications show us the way… to care for trees this Arbor Day!
With Earth Day yesterday and Arbor Day this Friday, April 26, and all week as National Parks Week, this is the perfect time to do something to help a tree grow or plant something new to celebrate the miracle of spring. If there are little ones in your life—children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friends of kids that you love—it’s a good time to teach them to love trees, plants, and flowers, too.
Image: The head of the Forest Service with the Lorax for the launch of the U.S. Forest Service’s Discover the Forest program which aims to inspire tweens (aged 8-12) and their parents to re-connect with nature, experiencing it first-hand. The campaign brings to life the joy and excitement kids have when they discover the wonders of nature, helping create interest in their environment and a lifelong relationship with it. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service
The best way to get kids to appreciate nature, according to Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide, is to take them outdoors—and “according to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, children in the U.S. spend 50% less time outdoors than they did 20 years ago.” To counter the initial cries of “I want TV”, however, it helps to give kids directed activities when they go outside.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council have developed a partnership with Project Learning Tree and Universal Pictures to create an educational curriculum plan based on “The Lorax” film and story. The curriculum supports the Forest Service’s “Discover the Forest” campaign (See image caption above).
Image: “Plant a Tree” page 21 from the Lorax Classroom Guide.
Teachers can download for FREE the complete classroom guide of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide as a PDF, or can download the individual activities to use in class (as long as it is for educational, and not commercial, purposes). There’s an interactive map of places you can go in the United States that have campgrounds, national forests, state campgrounds, etc. There’s a page of games and activities such as how to use a compass, take a virtual hike, create a leaf rubbing or become a Jr. Forest Ranger on the Web site.
The printed teacher’s guide has tests, bibliographies for the students, labs (plant a tree with the Lorax), and student pages for various grade levels (I saw K-4 and 6-8). Families are encouraged to use these activities, too.
Why would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? continues the ecological and conservation-minded discussion you might want to pursue with your kids or students this week.
However, this volume approaches conservation from a silvicultural perspective, rather than the Lorax’ perspective of promoting a child’s approach of nature generally. The age range for the publication is 8 and up, and the material might be a bit young for older middle school children—so its material is more directed to a specific age range. The Forest Service published this document also, and the authors are a writer/ editor / educator with the Forest Service and an illustrator with previous experience illustrating tree guides.
The book shows children the life cycle of trees, the need to remove sick trees, the uses for wood from cut trees, and types of trees that are dangerous, all so beautifully illustrated by Juliette Watts that they make the lessons come alive.
Purchase a copy from the GPO U.S. Government Online Bookstore, and flop under a tree canopy to read the story and appreciate all the gifts that nature has to give us.
As Dr. Seuss wrote, “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” It’s up to us (and the Forest Service and its partners) to encourage children to care a whole awful lot about our trees and forests. Using these publications is good a way to make that happen!
How can I find these publications?
1) Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Curriculum Guide
- You can find it via our PURL (Permanent URL)
- Locate it through GPO’s Catalog of Government Publications CGP catalog record. GPO has cataloged both the print and the electronic versions to make things “a whole awful lot better” for the Federal Depository libraries that got it in the April 2013 record load.
- Find it in a federal depository library near you.
2) Why would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?
- Purchase it on GPO’s U.S. Government Online Bookstore.
- Buy it at GPO’s Main (retail) Bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 4pm Eastern Time, except Federal holidays. Call (202) 512-0132 for information.
- Find it in a Federal Depository library.
About the Author(s):
Adapted by Government Book Talk Editor and U.S. Government Online Bookstore Manager Michele Bartram from a post written for the FDLP Community Blog by guest blogger Jennifer Davis from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Libraries Program (FDLP).