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Washington State University

Youth Forest Tour

5th Grade Forest Conservation Tour

Students standing in the forest watch the person talking

Every year in the third week of May, groups of students explore the world of forest ecology hands-on, at the 5th Grade Forest Conservation Tour in Whatcom County. This 2.5 hour interpretive outdoor tour is led by forestry and earth science professionals.

If special accommodations are needed, please indicate that in the online form. This opportunity is open to all educators and 5th grade youth.

To register a group contact:


Sierra Pacific

National Park Service – North Cascades National Park

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

United States Forest Service

Whatcom Conservation District

Whatcom County Farm Forestry Association

WSU Whatcom County Extension

Natural Resources Conservation Service


Smokey Bear

Washington Trails Association Online

Washington Forest Protection Association

WA Contract Loggers Association

Society of American Foresters (Directory of sites)

American Forests Organization

Dichotomous Tree Identifier

Environmental Kids Club

National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF)

Washington Nature Mapping Project (U of W)


Additional Teaching Resources


Activities Understanding Chemistry and Systems in the Forest Tour

Support materials created by Jared Ogle.

There are several practical components of science education that youth are exposed to when exploring an ecological environment such as a forest.

Several concepts are not exclusive to any one of the Forest Tour Stations.  Some of these concepts run through the all the forest tour are addressed here as an additional extensions.  An example is photosynthesis.  It is mentioned several times on the tour, and understanding how the process works will aid understanding in all of the stations.  The concepts presented are not covered exhaustively, but provided as a reference.

Systems – Forest Tour (pdf)
Energy Flow (pdf)
Photosynthesis and Respiration (pdf)
Decomposition (pdf)
Conservation of Matter and Energy (pdf)

Some concepts are not mentioned in the forest tour, but the are presented here as an additional learning opportunities.

The forest tour is organized due to land; however, it is not specifically recommended to cover the subjects in the order of the tour.

Some Washington State Learning Standards are supported by the Forest Tour either in part or in full.  A table showing standard alignment for the tour as a whole and for each station is available here.   Some Common Core Standards are supported by the Forest Tour either in part or in full.

GLAD Strategies for Content and Vocabulary

Pictorial Input


Compare and Contrast


Frayer Diagrams


Sorting Activities


Reference List

American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993). Benchmarks for Science Literacy. New York, Oxford University Press.
Barke, H-D., Hazari, Al, Yitbarek, Sileshi (2009). Misconceptions in Chemistry, Addressing Perceptions in Chemical Education. Berlin, Springer-Verlag.