The students have a one-sheet guide to identifying the 24 species we are looking for. Mostly this will involve looking at the leaves, which are usually very distinctive. Trees should have a trunk at least 1 foot in diameter.
After a tree has been identified, the student can take up to four pictures of the truck, at head height, from four different directions. The exception is if the trunk has some damage, or is obscured by, say, a vine, from one of the angles: all pictures should show ‘clear’ regions of bark. For example:
Students can use their Chromebooks to take the pictures (as they will have practiced at Bear Tavern) and upload them when they get back home. But, if they have their own phones, or if you are willing to lend them yours, they are much less awkward than a Chromebook and the pictures are better. And, if the phone has a generous data plan, you can actually submit each set of images right as it is taken. Each student has been given a link and a QR code that opens a form specifically for them, which can be accessed on a phone and will accept up to four images as they are taken, or can be accessed back home to upload stored photographs.
The advantage of submitting images ‘from the field’ is that you can choose the species name right then, in the form. If a student takes pictures and brings them home to upload, whether by Chromebook or phone, it is absolutely vital they they record the species in a way that can be linked to the picture, so the image can be tagged with the species when uploading. If that isn’t done, your poor student will be looking at a photo gallery of similar-looking bark pictures and won’t be able to tell what is what!
Safety notes: Please ensure your young scholars are careful in the woods! Watch out for poison ivy on the ground or growing on tree trunks, and of course take the usual ‘outdoors’ precautions such as sunscreen and insect repellent. And remember that most places have trails that you should stay on or near. It’s ok to step a few feet off a trail to photograph a tree, but please don’t go wandering deep into the woods. All trees on this list are common enough that you should be able to find examples next to trails.