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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. 

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:


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

Step 2:
What’s being done? Research what different groups are doing to address your issue.

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 to the right before you start.


  • Trees Pay Us Back is a two volume set of information about the benefits of trees.
  • NeighborWoods Guidebook
    This is an electronic version of the Sacramento California Tree Foundation’s “NeighborWoods Guidebook – Recipes for Community Action”
Issue Description & ImportanceDoes not describe the issue. Does not explain the importance of the issue.Briefly describes issue and its importance.Describes issue and explains the importance of the issue.Thoroughly describes the issue. Thoroughly describes the importance of the issue.
Current Action & OrganizationsDoes not list current action being taken or organizations taking action.Lists current actions being taken and organizations, but does not elaborate.Lists and describes current actions being taken and organizations taking action.Thoroughly describes current action and organizations taking action at a variety of levels.
Action ProposalDoes not list action.Lists action but does not explain it or its importance.Explains action proposal and outlines steps to achieve it. Explains the importance of the action.Clearly explains action proposal and details steps to achieve it. Thoroughly explains importance of the action.

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 to the right.

Summarize IssueDoes not summarize the issue.Briefly summarizes the issue.Thoroughly summarizes the issue.Thoroughly summarizes the issue and describes the importance of the issue.
Summarize Action PlanDoes not summarize their action plan.Briefly summarizes their action plan.Thoroughly summarizes their action plan and outlines steps to achieve it.Thoroughly summarizes their action plan and includes specific details about steps to achieve it.
“Sell” PlanDoes not sell their plan.Promotes their plan, but does not motivate others to want to support it.Sells their plan and creates interest in others to support it.Sells their plan and motivates others to take action.
Answer Questions & Defend PlanDoes not respond to questions asked and cannot defend their plan.Answers questions briefly and minimally defends their plan.Answers questions completely and defends their plan.Answers question thoroughly, offering additional related information and successfully defends their plan.


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?