Urban WebQuest



Urban forests are important. They can make us feel better, cool our homes, clean our air, clean our water, and save us money. Urban forests face many challenges that could prevent them from doing those things. Some challenges are caused by disease, insects, or weather. Others are caused by people. Some challenges are a combination of both.  

When we lose our urban forests, we lose air quality, water quality, standard of living, and community health. It sounds like a problem that is too big for you to do anything about, but it's not! This activity will help you learn how you can do something to help urban forests. The first step in making our urban forests healthier is to learn about the issues that challenge them. Then you need to find out who else could join your cause. Once you know those things, you can plan how to take action to make urban forests even better.


Task 1
Your group has been assigned to research an issue and create a written action plan to address the issue. The intent of this task is for you to gain a general understanding of the issue. The following headings should be included in your written action plan with appropriate information under them. Include pictures and other graphics as appropriate.  

  • Title/Issue name

  • Justification
     - What is the issue?
     - Why is the issue important?

  • What’s being done
     - Find examples of things being done to address your issue (national, state, or local).
     - Identify the organizations, government agencies, or individuals involved.

  • Proposal to address the issue
    - What your class (school, etc.) can do to address the issue. (The actions must be realistic in terms of financial and human resources available.)
    - Why it is important that you take action and why it may be more important to take action on this issue than other issues. (It impacts your community directly, it can be solved with few financial resources, etc.)

  • References cited

Task 2
When the written plan is complete, your group will present information about the issue and your action plan to the class. For the presentation, be prepared to:

  • Summarize the issue
  • Summarize your plan
  • “Sell” your plan to the class
  • Answer questions about what you learned and defend your plan


Step 1
Research the issue. Click on your assigned urban forest issue below. 

Invasive Species
Tree Canopy Loss
Emerald Ash Borer
Trees and Utilities
Soil Compaction
Heat Island

Step 2
What’s being done? Use the links to research what different groups are doing to address your issue.  

Invasive Species
Tree Canopy Loss
Emerald Ash Borer
Trees and Utilities
Soil Compaction
Heat Island  

Step 3
As a group, use the information you learned from your research to write an action plan as described in task 1. You may want to look at the grading rubric example listed in the resources below before you start.


  • Example Action Plan Grading Rubric

  • Trees Pay Us Back is a two volume set of information about the benefits of trees. (link)

  • NeighborWoods Guidebook (link)
    This is an electronic version of the Sacramento California Tree Foundation’s “NeighborWoods Guidebook – Recipes for Community Action”

Step 4
Once your action plan is complete, create a presentation to “sell” the plan to your class. Your presentation should show creativity and explain why you think your plan should be pursued. You may want to look at the grading rubric example listed in the resources below.             


Now that you’ve come up with some great plans, put them into action! You can make a difference. So, what’s your first step?