As highlighted in previous seedlings and OverSTORY articles, Maine TREE Programs and Outreach Coordinator Kelly French worked on a research investigation during the spring semester with the 6th-grade science class at Edna Drinkwater School in Northport. First, the students collected tree cores from trees found on their school’s campus. They then looked at the ring widths and local climate records to examine how climate stress has impacted their local trees. Finally, after months of hard work, the class finished their research and thanked Kelly for her involvement in this project.

“You taught my 6th-grade students and me so much about our climate impacts on trees investigation!” wrote EDS teacher Abby Plummer. “Thank you for all your help and for showing that their ideas are valuable and important!” One student illustrated their understanding of the project’s findings by drawing a cartoon of a tree cookie. This cookie contains a wide growth ring labeled “good climate conditions” and a narrow ring labeled “bad climate conditions.” During their conversations with Kelly, the students learned that climate stressors such as drought and excessive heat can cause trees to grow less compared to years with favorable conditions. 

Maine TREE actively seeks to support outdoor learning and forest-based education in every way possible. If you are an educator who would like to work with Maine TREE to develop programming for your school, learn about Maine Project Learning Tree, or establish a Forest Ecosystem Research Network plot – please contact our Director of Education, Lena Ives.

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