TREES: Inside and Out


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Peter Chausse



Trees are all around us. We enjoy the shade they provide on hot summer days, the shelter they give us when the rains come, and we benefit from all that they produce: oxygen, lumber, paper, fruit, and nuts. But how much do our students really know about trees? This course provides ideas to energize teachers and motivate students. You will focus on tree identification, uses of trees, and dozens of lesson ideas that can be adapted for teachers of grades K-12 to integrate with writing, literature, math, science, art and social studies curriculum to provide real life learning experiences for students.

You will begin by learning fun and effective ways to identify the trees around your school and in the neighborhood surrounding your school. You will also learn more about native Northwest trees and their uses. Then, you’ll be presented with lesson ideas that can take place inside the classroom or outside, and you may include visits from guest speakers, or field trips to local parks, forests or natural areas.

This class is applicable to teachers of students in Grades K-12, and the strategies and lesson ideas included can be implemented in any community.

The Co-Instructor for this course is Christopher Naze, M.Ed.




LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1. How to identify dozens of tree species. Handouts and recommended tree identification texts will serve as resources for identifying both native and introduced trees by recognizing leaves, flowers, fruit, nuts, bark, tree color and shape. The instructor will also answer questions and to aid in tree identification.

2. How to make tree study come alive for students in K-12 grades. Focus on writing, math, science, art and social studies ideas applicable to work on state benchmarks and district academic goals.

3. How to use local organizations and members of the community as resources in teaching about trees. A resource section will be provided in the handout material.

4.  Effective methods of involving students in community service projects. This section focuses on adopting trees and parks, planting trees, maintaining trails and green spaces, and education outreach programs.

5. Ideas for field trips to visit trees in a variety of habitats and to study the inter-relationship of trees with local plant, animal and human populations.

6. How to identify books of tree study information for developing activities for students. 

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



None. All reading is online.


$35 additional fee is for materials: a 200 page handbook of lesson ideas and information, and the course text, 'Trees to Know In Oregon.' Please pay this amount by check directly to the instructor, after registration. Peter Chausse, PO Box 3043, Gresham, OR.97030. Please include your name, address, phone and email.


Peter Chausse, B.S. is a former elementary school teacher, who has specialized in teaching his students about trees, plants, urban parks and natural areas.

Before beginning his teaching career, Peter earned a degree in Forestry from the University of Maine. His training included coursework in Dendrology (tree identification), Forest Management and wood product usage.

In the early 1980's, Peter worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the state of Washington, where he focused on tree identification and scientific observations. Since 1994, Peter has taught a course through The Heritage Institute titled, ‘Studying Portland’s Trees’ During the course, participants learn how to recognize several dozen tree species as they explore Portland’s parks and historic neighborhoods on foot. Ideas for the integration of tree study with math, art, science, literature, writing and social studies activities are presented and discussed.

Peter has had a lifelong love of trees, and is eager to help you acquire more tree knowledge. He is also dedicated to helping you bring this information to your students in fun and meaningful ways.  


TREES: Inside and Out


Brockman, Frank C.  The Golden Book to Field Identification: Trees of North America.  Golden Book Press, 2001, New York.

Coombes, Allen J.  TREES, The Eyewitness Handbook and Visual Guide to more than 500 species of trees from around the world. 1992. New York.

Jensen, Edward C. & Charles R. Ross. Trees to Know in Oregon, 2005. Oregon State University Extension Service, Corvallis, OR.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees (Western and Eastern regions) 1998. Chanticleer Press, New York.

Plotnik, Arthur. 2000. The Urban Tree Book. An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town. Three Rivers Press USA

Reynolds, Phyllis & Elizabeth Dimon. Trees of Greater Portland, 1993. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

Stuckey, Martha Maggie & George Palmer. Western Trees, A Falcon Guide. 1998. Falcon Publishing, Helena, Montana.



Carlson, Laurie. Kids Create, 1990. Williamson Publishing, Charlotte, Vermont.

Kohl, Maryann F. & Cindy Gainer. Good Earth Art, 1991. Bright Ring Publishing, Bellingham, WA.

Milford, Susan. Kids Nature Book, 1989. Williamson Press, Charlotte, Vermont.

NatureScope, Trees Are Terrific, 1992. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C. 

Sohi, Morteza. 1995. Look What I did with a Leaf.  Naturecraft.



(Although plants are focused, there are many tree study activities) 

Evans, Joy & Jo-Ellen Moore. Plants,  1995, Grades 1-3)

Olian, Rebecca. Exploring Plants (Grades 2-4) Scholastic Books, 1997. New York.

Ortleb, Edward & Richard Cadice.Plants, (Grades 5-9) Milliken Publishing, 1986. St. Louis. 

Ward, Pat & Barbara. Plants, (Grades 5-8+) Mark Twain Media Inc. 1998. USA.



Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree – 40th Anniversary Edition. 2004