The Tree People

Tree ID and Forest Literacy Field Day

Learn your trees from premier Ohio naturalists and


2022 Registration Will Be Coming Soon!

Field Day offered simultaneously at nearly two dozen locations in Ohio.

Come to one close to you! Led by expert naturalists and botanists.

$25/person. Please bring water & packed lunch

Knowing your trees is a direct doorway to nature literacy, land stewardship, and a strong sense of place. It connects you to the thousands of life forms a healthy forest supports. What would Ohio look like if people – LOTS of people – knew their trees? What if Ohio boasted the most forest-literate citizens of any state in the nation? What would change?

Everything. All of it good; all of it life-supporting.

If you have always wanted to master the skill of forest literacy or deepen the knowledge you already have, here at the Arc we want to make it easy and affordable for you to do so. When you achieve forest literacy, we hope you will choose to pass your hard-won skills onto others.

We are offering roughly two dozen forest literacy hikes all across southern and central Ohio, led by premier Ohio naturalists and conservationists, all of whom are passionate about sharing their craft and willing to volunteer their time to help you on your sylvan journey. Their goal is to transform your perception of nature as a “wall of green” into a community of distinct tree species that will one day become your familiar and cherished friends. If you are like most people, achieving such mastery requires having a mentor. Our Tree Elders will give you certainty when you are in doubt, humor when you are feeling overwhelmed, and motivation when your own will is flagging.

Because mastery requires traveling around the countryside to observe the same tree over and over in a variety of habitats and terrains, we intend to make this field day an annual event. By attending in multiple years you will benefit from multiple teachers and field trip destinations.

What you will Learn.

There are over 200 species of trees that call the Eastern Temperate Forest their home. If you learn just 25% of the most common trees in Eastern U.S.A (Level 1), you will be able to comfortably identify the great majority of the trees in a vast geographic region stretching from New York to Georgia, from Virginia to Illinois. The goal is to read the forest landscapes of the East as competently as you do your favorite book.

If you are an advanced student, we will study the less common species (Level 2), as well as work on untangling the relatively hard-to-identify oaks and hickories.

With each field day you attend, chances are you will have the mental capacity to pick up roughly 15 new trees – maybe less if you are a beginner, and more if you are accustomed to noting botanical features. If you follow up after the courses with fieldwork on your own time, you can make fast progress. We will show registrants how to link up to our Tree people Telegram Chat when you are stumped and want help, have something to share that you are excited about, or whenever you need affirmation from us and others.

Schedule for the Day. 

Participants will gather at the assigned trailhead at 10 am and then spend two hours in the field learning trees by bark, leaf, and form as well as their associations and natural history. We will pause for a lunch break, and then spend another two hours in the field. The day will end around 2:30 or 3:00 pm.

How to Proceed:


  1. Read the Tree People FAQ page. Prepare by ensuring that you have a worthy field guide at your fingertips. Learn how to sign up for our Telegram “Tree People”, an app that will allow us to continue to mentor you after the course is over.
  2. Decide if you wish to attend a Level 1 or Level 2 course. Download the tree checklist for a listing of Level 1 and Level 2 trees. If you are a beginner, we recommend Level 1. Level 1 trees are more common and widely distributed.
  3. Scroll down through our list of courses. Pick a leader, destination, habitat, and/or level of course that you wish to take. If the course doesn’t say closed, it is open for registration. Make a note of the Course # as you will need it when you register. Each field trip will be limited to 12 – 16 people.
  4. Take note: August 29 is our Rain Date. The Tree People will go on drizzle or shine and we will work around brief showers. However, if the day calls for heavy and/or long-lasting rain, we will notify you on or before Thursday evening that we will have to shift over to our rain date. Chances are we won’t have to, but please keep your calendar open just in case, as there are no refunds once you register, and don’t forget to watch for an email announcement late-week IF we have to switch over to our rain date.
Previous Tree Course Participants
Red Oak Leaves
White Oak Acorns
Admiring a Giant Sugar Maple
Big American Beech Tree
Chestnut Burrs