Arc of  Appalachia’s “Tree People

Tree ID and Forest Literacy field classes

Offerred at the same time in dozens of parks & preserves across Ohio

Led by expert naturalist, conservationists & botanists

Saturday, August 27, 2022, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Raindate Sunday, August 28th

Registration now open!

$25/person. Please bring water & packed lunch

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.

Learn and pass it on. 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.

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.

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.

Grow in Skills with each passing year. Because mastery requires traveling around the countryside to observe the same tree over and over in a variety of habitats and terrains, Tree People is 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., 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.

With each field day you attend, chances are – with concentration – 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. Knowing this limitation, your leader will not be trying to teach you every tree you see, but will have a focused agenda for each particular Tree People outing. If you follow up after the courses with fieldwork on your own time, you can make fast progress. After the course (or anytime, actually), be sure to Like the Arc-sponsored facebook site: Trees, Shrubs and Vines of Ohio. Here you can enjoy educational postings and/or post photos of a tree you want help identifying.

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 no or before 3:00 in the afternoon.


How to Proceed:

  1. Read the Tree People FAQ page. Prepare by ensuring that you have a worthy field guide at your fingertips.
  2. Scroll down through our list of courses. Pick a leader, destination and the habitat of the course that attracts you. 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.
  3. Take note: Sunday, August 28 is our Rain Date. Tree People will go on regardless if it is sunny or drizzling, 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 fairly last minute email announcements if we do have to use our rain date.

Would you like to lead a Tree People Course next year?

We would love to see these course offerings grow, and GROW! If you are a competent and enthusiastic tree expert, contact Seth Oglesby, the Arc’s Tree People coordinator info@arcofappalachia.org.

Previous Tree Course Participants
Red Oak Leaves
White Oak Acorns
Admiring a Giant Sugar Maple
Big American Beech Tree
Chestnut Burrs