EXPAND!: Unit 6.

Forests, Fields and Meadows:

Upland Communities

These are great sources for learning more about Pennsylvania’s forests, fields, meadows and upland communities.



Notice the different types of trees in your special spot. How do they differ in size and shape? Do they have different types of leaves or bark? Collect a leaves from several different trees.


How do these leaves differ from each other? How does a forest ecosystem differ from another upland community, like a meadow? Think about how both the flora and fauna differ in these communities. What are characteristics that these upland communities have in common?


Write a letter to a friend about your experience. Describe what you observed about the trees and upland communities. Take the leaves you collected and press them in the pages of your journal. If you have a tree guide with you, try to identify the tree species; if you don’t, you can identify them later using your pressed samples.


Trees of Pennsylvania and the NortheastTrees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Charles Fergus. 2002. Stackpole Books: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. 320 pp.

This guide book provides detailed information about over 60 common and uncommon tree species found in a variety of Pennsylvania habitats, including small woodlots, deep forests, backyards, and reverting fields. Each description includes information about the species’ range, growth patterns, adaptations, uses, and other “fun facts”.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.

Urban & suburban meadows : bringing meadowscaping to big and small spacesUrban and Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscaping to Big and Small Spaces. Catherine Zimmerman. 2010. Matrix Media Press : Silver Sping, Maryland. 272 pp.

Urban and Suburban Meadows details the issues surrounding the planting of non-native grasses in American’s lawns. Instead of destroying ecosystems with these chemically maintained monocultures, Zimmerman proposes meadowscaping as a sustainable alternative. The book leads the reader through the process, from site preparation and design to planting and maintenance. The author also provides a useful list of native meadow plant species that will thrive in different regions of the country.

Click here to see what libraries carry this title (via Worldcat.org) .
Click here to see Amazon information.


Forest Stewardship Council:

The first meeting of the Forest Stewardship Council took place in 1993 with the first General Assembly of loggers, foresters, environmentalists, and sociologists. The US-branch of the Council is located in Minneapolis, but works throughout the country to stimulate a dialogue about and promote sustainable forestry practices in the US and beyond.

The members believe in bridging economic, social, and environmental sectors to bring together those most interested in sustainable management of the nation’s forests.

The FSC has a certification program that allows businesses and their products to bear the FSC, indicating that the wood in the product comes from a certified well-managed forest. This certification program helps consumers support businesses that are committed to preserving the nation’s forest resources for future generations.

In addition to a list of certified products, the FSC website offers a description of the principles and criteria involved in what constitutes sustainable forestry. Although these guidelines can be filled with technical jargon, PA Master Naturalists may find the information interesting.

Millennium Tree Activity Guide:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources put together the Wisconsin’s Millennium Tree Activity Guide to create a program of sustainable forestry activities for elementary school students. The 226 page guide is filled with forest resource related activities, and would be useful for any naturalist seeking to teach youth about forests and trees. The guide includes a range of activities, from learning about tree rings and the benefits of trees and forests, to making handmade paper and designing an urban schoolyard forest. Although the activities are designed for a younger audience, Master Naturalists will find the guide useful for coming up with ideas for presentations and outreach activities.


Scott Arboretum:

The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore CollegeThe Scott Arboretum was started in 1929 after Swarthmore College received an endowment fund to create an arboretum to promote and encourage horticulture. The Arboretum seeks to educate visitors about the plants that can be grown outdoors in eastern Pennsylvania by providing gardens that exist within 300 acres of the Swarthmore College campus. It boasts more than 4,000 ornamental plant species, as well as trees, shrubs, vines, and perennials suitable to this region.

In addition to the gardens, the Scott Arboretum offers educational programs, volunteer opportunities, and a community garden program. In this gardening program, garden plots are available for rent for a growing season, thereby encouraging local residents to try their hand at horticulture and grow their own produce. The Scott Arboretum also houses a library with 1,300+ garden-related books, magazines, catalogs, and brochures.

Pennsylvania Forestry Association:


The Pennsylvania Forestry Association was founded in 1886 as a grassroots organization with the focus of conserving the state’s forests. It is a citizen’s organization dedicated to providing science-based leadership and education to the public about the use, management, and stewardship of the state’s forests. The association is made up of individuals from all different sectors, including private landowners, loggers, those from the forest industry, resource professionals, and other interested parties. Their vision is for forests that provide benefits to people today and in future generations, while still allowing for a healthy ecosystem. The PFA recognizes that there are a variety of demands placed on the forests, and that the most successful management of this resource will balance these demands.

Continue to:
Unit 7: Forest, Fields and Meadows: Upland Communities

Go Back to:
Unit 5: Water in the Landscape

Updated: June 2018