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Kentucky Division of Forestry Forestry in the Classroom

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1 Kentucky Division of Forestry Forestry in the Classroom
An Educational Series Note: This Power Point is designed to be a one-hour program geared toward 4th, 5th and 6th grade. The program, however, can be adapted for shorter or longer presentations and/or other age groups as needed. Presenters may use the notes and narrative or make modifications if desired. Introduce yourself and provide your job title. Explain that you work for the Division of Forestry and provide a brief explanation your job duties.

2 Kentucky’s Forests Presentation Topics: Keeping Our Forests Healthy
Kentucky’s Forest Ecosystems Common Trees of Kentucky Benefits of Trees and Forests Our Future Forests Explain the topics to be covered in the presentation: The Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Mission – Keeping Forests Healthy Kentucky’s Forest Ecosystems Common trees of Kentucky Benefits of Trees and Forests Our Future Forests Talking Points: Forests are an important natural resource and should be managed carefully to make certain that they are healthy and sustainable for today as well as in the future. Foresters and Forest Rangers know how to maintain and protect our forests. They must be very knowledgeable about the different kinds of trees, how trees benefit other living things in the environment and what measures to take to ensure that our trees continue to grow and replenish.

3 Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Mission is to make sure our forests stay healthy!
We manage forestlands. We assist forest landowners. We grow and plant tree seedlings. We monitor insects and diseases. We prevent and fight wildfire. We oversee timber harvesting. We maintain state forestlands. Explain that the Division of Forestry is a state agency with nine district offices across Kentucky and that our primary mission is to make sure that our forests stay healthy. Talking Points: We manage forests, assist forest landowners, grow and plant tree seedlings, monitor insects, diseases and invasive plants, prevent and fight wildfire, oversee timber harvesting, and maintain state forestlands.

4 KDFs Mission: Manage Forests
Trees are a renewable resource. After they are harvested, more trees will naturally grow from seed! Managing forests for the best tree growth is what forestry is all about. Define renewable natural resource and explain forest management and stewardship. Talking points: Natural resources occur naturally in our environment. We depend on them to survive and nearly everything we use involves natural resources in some way. Natural resources can be broken into two categories: renewable or non-renewable. Renewable resources can be replenished naturally with the passage of time, whereas nonrenewable resources have a limited supply. Examples of renewable resources include plants, animals, air, water, rocks and minerals. Examples of non-renewable resources include fossil fuels like oil and coal. Fossil fuels are formed in the earth from the remains of plants and animals. It takes millions and millions of years for fossil fuels to form, so we consider them a non-renewable resource. Trees are an example of a renewable resource because after they are harvested, more trees can be planted and grown or they can regenerate naturally from seed. Trees, however, do take a long time to replace, so even though they are renewable, it is important to use them wisely. This is why the practice of managing forests, also called forest stewardship, is important.

5 KDFs Mission: Assist Landowners
Foresters help landowners manage their trees by developing stewardship plans. Stewardship plans promote timber production, wildlife habitat, water quality and/or outdoor recreation. RECREATION & SCENERY Explain that most of the forests in Kentucky are owned by private landowners and farmers. Many of these landowners request foresters to help them manage their forestlands for timber as well as for wildlife habitat, clean air, clean water, peace and quiet, beauty and outdoor recreation. Talking Points: Kentucky has nearly 12 million acres of forestland – that’s almost half of our state! And most of it is owned by private landowners (89% to be exact). That is why most of Kentucky’s foresters work with landowners. Landowners who are responsible and want to take care of their land are called ‘stewards’. Foresters develop stewardship plans for landowners for a variety of reasons. The plans can be written for timber production, wildlife habitat, clean water, scenery and/or outdoor recreation. Even though you may not own a forest, you can still be a forest steward. You are a forest steward when you choose to use products from renewable resources. You are a forest steward when you recycle wood and paper products. You are a forest steward when you keep the forest beautiful by not littering. You are a forest steward when you don’t damage plants and trees unnecessarily. Someday, you might have a forest of your own. You will be a forest steward when you plan for and choose to do things in your forest that keep it healthy and productive for plants, wildlife and people. TIMBER PRODUCTION WILDIFE HABITAT WATER QUALITY

6 KDFs Mission: Grow and Plant Trees
Seeds are collected for growing seedlings in our nurseries. When a seed starts to grow, or germinate, it develops root hairs and the first tiny shoot. Seeds are planted in rows or seedbeds where they develop into tree seedlings. After one or two years, the seedlings are lifted from their seedbeds. The bare-root seedlings are then transplanted in reforestation projects. Explain that in addition to managing forests and helping landowners, the Division of Forestry also manages two nurseries that supply tree seedlings for reforestation projects. Talking Points: Foresters and rangers collect seed so that they can be grown in our nurseries. We have two seedling nurseries that are specially equipped to grow trees that are native (naturally occurring) to areas in Kentucky. You may remember from your science classes that seeds are produced in the flowering parts of plants. A seed contains nutrients for the baby plant to start developing. As the seed grows, it develops tiny root hairs and a shoot that sprouts above the ground. This is called germination. Once the seedlings are developed, they are then transplanted and used for reforesting areas across the state. You might be wondering why we plant trees when nature can do it on its own. The reason is because natural regeneration can take many years. Planting tree seedlings is a way to reforest an area and save time that may be lost while waiting for nature to take its course. Planting trees also allows a forester to carefully select the best trees that are suitable for a particular site. Tree planters, like the one seen on the back of this tractor, allow for the trees to be spaced at the appropriate distance for the best growth and development.

7 KDFs Mission: Monitor Forest Health
Insects Disease Invasives Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Explain that forest health problems can be caused by insects, disease and invasive plants and that part of the Division of Forestry’s mission is to watch for these problems and try to prevent them from spreading. Talking Points: You may not realize it, but our forests get sick too. Trees can be weakened by old age, drought, overcrowding, fire and weather damage. Weak trees are more at risk for insects and disease, but even healthy trees can catch a ‘bug’. That’s why it is important that we keep an eye on forest health problems. Some of the most destructive insects in Kentucky’s forests include Southern Pine Beetles, Hemlock Woolly Adelgids and Emerald Ash Borers (EAB). You may have seen bright purple traps hanging in trees recently. These sticky traps are treated with a lure that attracts EAB. The traps help determine if EAB are located in a certain area and this allows foresters to track the spread of infestations. Some of the diseases that can damage trees in our state include oak wilt, oak decline and sudden oak death. Oak are some of the most valuable trees in our state and unfortunately, many of our oak species are showing signs of decline. Sometimes plants can become invasive and alter our forest ecosystems and threaten the health of trees. Kudzu and bush honeysuckle, which are non-native species imported from Asia, are very invasive. They take over our natural landscapes and compete with native species for space and habitat requirements. If you’ve ever seen kudzu vines climbing over the tops of trees, you can imagine how it would suffocate and shade the forest from sunlight. Kudzu Oak Wilt Disease and Oak Decline Disease Bush Honeysuckle EAB survey trap

8 KDFs Mission: Prevent and Fight Wildfire
Forest fires are not only dangerous, they can damage our forest resources. Foresters and rangers are trained to suppress and fight wildfire to protect our forests. One of forestry’s biggest promoters of preventing wildfire is…you guessed it…Smokey Bear! Explain that one of the biggest threats to Kentucky’s forests are wildfires and that foresters and rangers with the Division of Forestry are specially trained to suppress and fight wildfire. Talking Points: Wildfires are one of the biggest threats to our forests. Wildfires are sometimes started by lightning or by accident, such as when a campfire is not completely put out. They can also be started on purpose by people who commit the crime of arson. Unfortunately, arson is the number cause of forest fires in Kentucky. Wildfires can move very fast and burn many acres. Not only are they dangerous to people, they damage our forests. One of the biggest responsibilities of foresters and rangers is to fight these wildfires and enforce forest fire season and outdoor burning laws. The tool we use to fight wildfires is not water….it’s a rake. We use rakes, blowers, chainsaws, bulldozers and plows to remove leaf litter and woody debris that can catch on fire. By removing this ‘fuel’, we create a break or line around the fire and prevent it from moving further. Although wildfires can be very destructive, a controlled burn, can be beneficial to a forest ecosystem and even help keep the leaf litter from piling up. A controlled burn, however, must be carefully planned and carried out by professional firefighters. You’ve probably already met one of our biggest promoters of preventing wildfires…Smokey bear. Who can finish his sentence “Only You…”?

9 KDFs Mission: Oversee Timber Harvests
Harvesting timber is hard work and it takes careful planning. A well-planned harvest, with help from foresters and rangers, will make it easier for the forest to grow back. Trees should be carefully selected and marked for harvesting. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are used during harvest to protect the forest floor and watersheds. Explain that landowners harvest trees from their forests for many reasons and that most of the wood harvested in Kentucky is done by loggers who have been trained on how to protect the environment while logging and loading timber. Foresters and rangers work with both landowners and loggers to make sure their logging practices are safe and have minimal impact on the land. Talking Points: Timber harvesting in Kentucky is an important industry. We rank 3rd in the country for producing hardwood timber for various wood products. Harvesting timber is hard work and it takes careful planning. A well-planned harvest will help make sure that the forest will regenerate. As long as the trees to be cut are carefully selected and the forest floor is kept in tact, the trees will naturally replace themselves from the seedlings that are already growing on the forest floor. This is why foresters and rangers work with landowners and loggers on how to plan and carry out harvesting. They consider the trees, the terrain, and watersheds when it comes to selecting, cutting, hauling, and loading the timber. Harvesting timber involves several steps: Marking – Felling – Limbing – Skidding and Bucking – Loading During harvest, loggers use Best Management Practices (BMPs) to help prevent erosion of soil. BMPs include silt fences, water bars, culverts and crossings that help catch the soil before it runs off into waterways. Marking  Felling  Limbing  Skidding  Loading

10 KDFs Mission: Manage State Forests
Forest management practices can be seen on all state forest properties. Our foresters and rangers implement stewardship, plant tree seedlings, monitor forest health, enforce fire laws, and oversee timber harvests just as they do on private properties. The difference is … you can visit the state forests! Explain that although most of our foresters and rangers work with private landowners, we do own and manage 8 different state forest sites that encompass nearly 40,000 acres. Our state forestlands are used as working forests and educational demonstration areas and they are open to the public. Talking Points: We have 8 state-owned forests in Kentucky which are closely managed using the same stewardship principles that are used on private lands—everything from harvesting timber to reforestation. These lands are definitely working forests, however, they are also open to the public for recreational as well as educational purposes. If you were to visit a state forest, you might see some of the following: an active timber harvest with best management practices to protect streams, trees marked for thinning and removal (trees grow bigger and more rapidly when other trees do not crowd them), efforts to eliminate or prevent destructive insects and invasive plants, and/or a reforestation project such as a walnut or pine plantation.

11 Kentucky has one of the most diverse forest ecosystems in the world with over 100 different kinds of trees. Explain that Kentucky has a wide range of tree species with over 100 different kinds of trees growing in our forest ecosystems. Define the term ecosystem and explain that eastern deciduous forest ecosystems are the primary type of forest found in Kentucky. Define the meaning of deciduous and coniferous. Talking Points: Now that you have an idea of what the Division of Forestry is all about, lets talk about the different kinds of trees found in the forest ecosystems of Kentucky. Did you know that there are over 100 different kinds of trees in Kentucky? The reason our forests are so diverse is because of long, warm summers, plentiful rainfall and rich soils. The definition of an ecosystem is very simple. It is all the living and nonliving things in a given location that are interconnected. For example, in a forest ecosystem, the plants and animals depend on each other as well as the nonliving things like water and minerals in order to survive. In Kentucky, the primary forest ecosystem is the eastern deciduous forest. Eastern deciduous forests are characterized by tall hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, poplar, elm, and walnut. The trees of a deciduous forest shed their leaves in the fall and grow new leaves each spring. As a result, the ground is covered in a layer of old and decaying leaves which means the soil of a deciduous forest is very rich and this increases the diversity of wild flowers, ferns, shrubs and trees.   A coniferous forest, on the other hand, stays green year round. Coniferous forests have trees with needles and they produce cones. Most coniferous trees are evergreen.

12 Kentucky’s Forests: Two Forest Regions
Mixed Mesophytic Region Western Mesophytic Region Bottomland forest Cove forest Explain that Kentucky’s deciduous forests can be further categorized into two forest regions: the Mixed Mesophytic Region in eastern Kentucky and the Western Mesophytic Region in the rest of the state. Provide examples of some of the forest communities within these regions. Talking Points: Kentucky has two forest regions: the Mixed Mesophytic Region in eastern Kentucky and the Western Mesophytic Region in the rest of the state. Mixed-mesophytic forests, are some of the most ecologically diverse forests in the world. These regions also contain various forest communities. Cove forests, for example, are found in ravines and valleys of this region and they are characterized by hemlock, umbrella magnolia, spicebush and rhododendron. Oak-hickory forests in this region are dominated by oaks, hickories, poplar, beech, maples, basswood and formerly chestnut. Oak-pine forests are found on the ridge tops and they typically have scarlet oak, red oak, pitch pine, shortleaf pine and Virginia pine. Common shrubs in an oak-pine forest community include mountain laurel, blueberry and huckleberry. Western Mesophytic forests, found in central and western Kentucky, are not as biologically diverse (they do not have as many different kinds of trees/plants), but are nevertheless, important. They are typically characterized by tall hardwoods, such as oak, hickory, elm and walnut. Upland forests, Bluegrass savannahs and bottomland forests are among the different forest communities in this region. Bluegrass savannah Oak-hickory forest Oak-pine forest Upland forest

13 Kentucky’s Forests: Common Trees
The key to identifying trees is to look at their different characteristics…such as leaf shape, bark, flowers, fruit, twigs and buds. Can you identify these common trees based on the photos? Identify some of the common trees found in Kentucky and provide a brief explanation of how to identify different kinds of trees based on certain characteristics. Talking Points: As discussed earlier, there are over 100 different kinds of trees found within the forest communities and regions of Kentucky. Some of the common trees found throughout Kentucky are easy to identify. Many of you are already familiar with oaks, hickories, maples, and other hardwoods found throughout our state. Most of you are also familiar with some of our common evergreens, like cedar and pine. The key to identifying these different trees is to look closely at their at their characteristics. It’s kind of like being a detective. You have to examine all the different parts of the tree and then compare them to other trees. Leaf shape and leaf pattern is one of the best features to look at…for example, is the leaf simple (one stem with one leaf) or compound (one stem with many leaflets). Is the leaf broad or needle shaped? Is the leaf rounded or lobed? Are edges smooth or serrated with tooth-like notches? Other important identification features to look at include the bark, flowers, fruits, twigs, bud growth and even the overall form or shape of the tree. Can you identify some of the trees represented in these photos? Northern red oak (leaf shape has 7 to 11 lobes with bristle tips) Sycamore (bark is distinctly brown and white) Flowering dogwood (white flowers with 4 petals) Black walnut (green husk of fruit stains your skin…nut is edible) White pine (needle-shaped leaves in clusters of 5) White Ash (twigs are smooth and brown, leaf scar is notched at bud) Redbud (clusters of rose-pink flowers in early spring) Shellbark hickory (bark is light gray and scaly)

14 Kentucky’s Forests: State and Heritage Tree
Yellow (tulip) poplar is Kentucky’s official state tree. Kentucky coffeetree is Kentucky’s heritage tree. Notice the white furrows on the bark and the simple, tulip shaped leaves. Notice the scaly ridges on the bark and double compound leaves. Discuss the two officially recognized state trees and their characteristics. Talking points: Kentucky has two officially recognized trees: the State Tree (the Tulip Poplar) and the State Heritage Tree (the Kentucky Coffeetree). The history behind the two state trees began in 1976 when the Kentucky Coffeetree was named the official state tree. In 1994, the legislature changed the official state tree to the Tulip Poplar, which had long been recognized as the unofficial state tree. Some folks, including students from Bethel Elementary School in Bath County, opposed the change and rallied behind keeping the Coffeetree. The result was to officially name the Kentucky Coffeetree as the State Heritage Tree. Tulip Poplar is a valuable timber tree in Kentucky and it is found throughout the state. High-quality poplar is used for furniture, plywood and veneer. It is also valuable in the construction industry. Tulip poplars have a tulip-shaped, simple leaf and are known for fast growth and tall, straight trunks. The flowers are light orange with a yellow center that appear in mid-spring. The bark is dark gray, with narrow white streaks. The Kentucky Coffeetree is not as common as the Tulip Poplar. Although it is found statewide, it occurs most frequently in central Kentucky. The wood is used for fence posts and occasionally for cabinetwork. Coffeetrees are medium-sized trees with short, stubby branches, scaly ridges on the bark, and double compound leaves. The leaflets often number 40 or more. The fruit is a large, heavy pod that contains 4 to 8 seeds. Early settlers used the seeds as a substitute for coffee.

15 What Trees Do For You… Kentucky’s Forests: Benefits of Trees
Trees Clean the Water Trees Provide Habitat Explain that trees provide benefits to us that are often overlooked. Talking Points: Never underestimate the power of a tree! Across Kentucky, you can see trees growing along fence posts or busy downtown streets, or planted in your backyard or school yard. These trees may not make up a large tract of forest land, but they are nevertheless important. Trees are good for the environment because they clean the air, improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat. Trees are also important for our communities in that they add beauty to our surroundings, provide shade and help save energy. How does a tree clean the air? The leaves on trees and other plants filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other forms of pollution. Plants are able to grow because of a process known as photosynthesis and during this process, the leaves take in carbon dioxide from the air and replenish it with oxygen. How does a tree help water quality? Tree roots absorb runoff and help prevent soil erosion and other pollutants from entering our waterways. How does a tree help wildlife? Trees provide the things that animals need in their habitat…including shelter and food. How does a tree help your community? They provide the products such as lumber for buildings and homes, pulp for paper products, fruits and nuts for foods and plant extracts for many of our medicines. We also depend of trees for peace and quiet, beauty, and outdoor recreation. All that and they save money! A large shade tree placed on the sunny side of your house can help reduce air-conditioning cost by as much as 30%! And evergreens placed on the on the northwest side of your house can serve as a windbreak. There are many more benefits of trees…Can you think of any? Trees Clean the Air Trees Give Us A Place to Enjoy and Things We Need

16 The Future of Kentucky’s Forests Depends on YOU!
Kentucky’s Forests: Looking Forward The Future of Kentucky’s Forests Depends on YOU! Wrap up and discussion… Talking Points: Today, you have learned that a forest is an ecosystem with a changing community of plants, animals, soil, minerals, water and sunlight. You also learned that forests are a renewable resource and as long as we take care of them, the benefits that forests bring us will always be around. The future of Kentucky’s forests depends on you. Do you have any ideas about how to take care of our forests in Kentucky? Some suggestions... Plant more trees and take care of them as they grow. Look for signs of insects and disease in forested areas. Be careful in the woods and be cautious with campfires. Practice good forest management on your property. Understand what causes pollution and how to prevent it. Become a forester or forest ranger when you grow up.

17 Questions What is KDFs mission? Name two renewable resources.
Name two non-renewable resources. Name two reasons why a landowner would want a stewardship plan for their forest? What is the most common cause of wildfires in Kentucky? How many different kinds of trees (species) are found in Kentucky? Kentucky forests are in the Eastern Deciduous Formation, however, there are two specific forest regions. Name one of these regions. Name three common trees of Kentucky. What are two benefits of trees? Name three products that come from trees. Offer questions and award those who can answer correctly with posters, Smokey Bear materials or other giveaways. Thank the class and the teachers for their time and offer informational brochures, fact sheets and/or PLT activities to supplement their learning about forestry. Answers… What is KDFs mission? (To keep Kentucky’s forests healthy) Name two renewable resources. (Trees, Water) Name two non-renewable resources. (Oil, Coal) Name two reasons why a landowner would want a stewardship plan for their forest? (To improve wildlife habitat; To advise on timber production and harvesting; to improve water quality; For recreation and aesthetics) What is the most common cause of wildfires in Kentucky? (arson…people setting fires on purpose…arson is a federal crime…) How many different kinds of trees (species) are found in Kentucky? (Over 100…in fact, a recent survey had 115 tree species listed) Kentucky forests are in the Eastern Deciduous Formation, however, there are two specific forest regions. Name one of these regions. (Mixed Mesophytic or Western Mesophytic). Name three common trees of Kentucky. (Yellow Poplar, White Oak, Flowering Dogwood..etc.) What are two benefits of trees? (Trees provide habitat; Trees give us products we need) Name three products that come from trees. (Lumber for construction, Plant derivatives for medicines; Pulp for paper products…etc.)

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