The tree on the sidewalk or in your yard probably doesn’t demand too much of your time. However trees, like annual flowers, require proper care and sometimes they need to be cut down. Why cut down a tree?
Author Roberta Burzynski explains the reasons why in Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?. Published by the USDA Forest Service’s Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry in Newton Square, Pennsylvania earlier this year, Burzynski wrote her book in response to what students were telling her during classroom visits. While students were aware of the benefits of trees and the products they provide, they repeatedly told her that trees could never be cut down. As she explains in the preface of her book, she wrote her book to address their “gap in knowledge and understanding” about this subject.
Burzynski wrote Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down? for children, adults and families. It is an informative book illustrated with the peaceful, thoughtful and moving watercolor paintings of scientific illustrator, Juliette Watts. Burzynski discusses the ecological benefits of trees and the products derived from trees (e.g., pencils and paint brushes) in the first part of her book and then eases into the reasons why trees might need to be cut down in the second part. She closes her book with instructions about how to care for trees and supplies readers with resources about the following topics:
- How to recognize hazardous defects in trees.
- How to prune trees.
- How to get help identifying tree pests.
- How to use fire-resistant plants in the landscape.
- How to buy trees and plant them in appropriate locations.
- How to find wood markets in addition to commercial sawmills.
Burzynski’s text and Watts’ illustrations provide many talking points and learning opportunities for both children and adults. This wonderful book is available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office for $10. It is also available as a free PDF from the USDA Forest Service. My personal recommendation is to purchase a print copy. This is a resource you will want on your shelf.
A sixteen-page curriculum guide is available for teachers and parents. This resource-rich guide includes 17 activities that can be completed in 15-60 minutes. Links to Web-based resources and books are also included.
Burzynski, Roberta. 2013. Why Would Anyone Cut a Tree Down?. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.