Outpost – Speak for the Trees

Beginner Level

  • Acquire a tree identification guide that includes trees local to your area. Remember that your local library is a valuable resource, as is the Bureau of Land Management (visit BLM.gov for contact information for your area).


I downloaded this fun app called leafsnap so I can identify some of the trees around me in my complex.

  • Take a walk out your front door and identify at least three trees growing in your yard and along your street. Are the trees you identified native to your area?


These three trees, and many more grow in my complex. Using leafsnap, I was able to identify left to right:

Southern Magnolia, Alleghey Serviceberry, and Coastal Plain Willow

The Southern Magnolia is not native to California, but rather southeastern United States.

The Alleghey Serviceberry is native to Eastern Canada.

The Coastal Plain Willow is native to Mexico, Southeast United States and Caribbean.

Intermediate Level

  • Research how a good windbreak is planted and how it is useful to the surrounding area.
Planting a row of conifer trees on the north and northwest sides of your property creates a wall against cold winter winds – saving your heating costs by up to 30%. The best protection from wind occurs when the windbreak is no more than the distance of one or two tree heights from the house.
  • Go to a local park and identify at least three of the trees growing there. Are they native to your area or are they transplants?



Expert Level

  • Take your identification guide out to the woods. Identify as many different trees as you can.
  • Pay attention to how each tree grows in relation to the surrounding vegetation. How does each tree compete with other vegetation in order to grow?
  • Bring along a garbage sack and pick up any litter that you find.

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