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BillCr
03-26-2011, 11:44 PM
Would it be possible for a BCUSA member forester, if they are willing and BCUSA approves, to create a simple, standardized worksheet to enable members seeking to ID trees in their area with a worksheet to fill out and then submit?

I'm thinking this would both help the submitting member, and also all viewing members because it would be standardized and could be printed off for future use and added to a folder. In addition, it would better assist the members seeking to help ID the tree because it would provide a completed profile.

The form, with instructions could be made a sticky and members could print that form off, make copies and then head out to fill it out and take pictures. We would then come back and upload our findings to help us try and ID the tree in question.

If any foresters see this and think this would be a good idea, please consider something like this. Do you foresters think something like this would work? Would it be a valuable tool?

Steven Long
03-27-2011, 01:41 AM
Great idea Bill. If BCUSA approves, I would be willing to make one up exclusively for Bushcrafters. I might need a little help with design and computer stuff.

Ironwood
03-27-2011, 06:02 AM
Love the idea. Would be nice to see the top five useful species native to each state or province (canada)

IamLegend
03-27-2011, 06:12 AM
I would love to see something like this also. Good idea Bill!

Sawdust and Splinters
03-27-2011, 08:23 AM
Good idea.

lgmedler
03-27-2011, 08:25 AM
Would be a great tool.

drewhelean
03-27-2011, 08:32 AM
Fantastic idea! Would be useful for taking the kids out for tree identification. Print one for each kid and tell them they have an hour to ID as many as they can and bring back leaf or a pic to show the proof.

3fires
03-27-2011, 10:25 AM
Sounds like a great idea, and a good learning tool as well.

BillCr
03-27-2011, 11:05 AM
Great idea Bill. If BCUSA approves, I would be willing to make one up exclusively for Bushcrafters. I might need a little help with design and computer stuff.

Steven,

Your recent post on the slippery elm prompted the idea and I thank you for working on this. Tree I'd is one of my major goals to get serious about learning. Now if we could only find someone that could help lay it out or design it, but it may just need to be some basic instructions on photographing certain parts and such and a "15" point checklist.

Thank you again

Bill

mariajjenkins
03-27-2011, 01:09 PM
We need this.

Steven Long
03-27-2011, 01:28 PM
One of the problems I think with most people is that there are so many species to learn and they try to just walk out in the woods with a field guide and start learning them all at once. This is too much info at one time.

My idea for this worksheet is to have a few general tips at the top following with a two part worksheet. First section is with information you fill out at home and the second section being information filled out in the field. Instead of walking into the woods not knowing what you are going to find, you will focus on 1 or 2 trees a day and have done so much research at home that you will be able to go to your favorite spot and know exactly where to find them. This worksheet will be used with your choice of field guides. The field guides will be used for the color pictures and general info they provide.

You will start off composing a list of all flora in your area. Researching each one mildly until you find one you are interested in. I always pick them based on their uses since that is the most important thing about a plant to me. Once you find "the one", start on section 1 of worksheet...

Contents of section 1 may include (research done at home):
- Name (all names)
- General Background/Description
- Habitat w/ examples of locations you know of (ex: River bottoms w/ rocky to clay to sandy soils; Trinity river off of Hwy 59, San Jacinto River above SHNF, etc.)
- Very detailed over all description (height, diameter, shape, etc)
- Very detailed leaf description suited to current season of the year
- Very detailed bark description
- Very detailed fruit description suited to current season of the year
- Any extra ID tips
- List any cautions/warnings w/ remedies and preventions
- A list of all of its uses (woodcraft, medicinal, edible)
- Pick a few projects and get instructions, recipes, etc. to practice in the field

Contents of section 2 may include (field notes):
- Exact area of location
- General description of what you have found
- Descriptions of photos you have taken
- Any thing you find to be different than your research from home
- Notes from the projects practiced in the field
- Add a few sketches
- Describe the feel of the tree (smell, touch, hear, taste if edible)

Focusing on a few plants a week instead of searching for as many as possible has worked best for me. Get to know the tree intellectually at home then physically in the field. Take many pictures of all parts of the plant and write your own detailed description.

What do you guys think? Is this something that could work for you?

Edit: A good place to start is your own backyard.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 10:26 AM
One of the problems I think with most people is that there are so many species to learn and they try to just walk out in the woods with a field guide and start learning them all at once. This is too much info at one time.

My idea for this worksheet is to have a few general tips at the top following with a two part worksheet. First section is with information you fill out at home and the second section being information filled out in the field. Instead of walking into the woods not knowing what you are going to find, you will focus on 1 or 2 trees a day and have done so much research at home that you will be able to go to your favorite spot and know exactly where to find them. This worksheet will be used with your choice of field guides. The field guides will be used for the color pictures and general info they provide.

You will start off composing a list of all flora in your area. Researching each one mildly until you find one you are interested in. I always pick them based on their uses since that is the most important thing about a plant to me. Once you find "the one", start on section 1 of worksheet...

Contents of section 1 may include (research done at home):
- Name (all names)
- General Background/Description
- Habitat w/ examples of locations you know of (ex: River bottoms w/ rocky to clay to sandy soils; Trinity river off of Hwy 59, San Jacinto River above SHNF, etc.)
- Very detailed over all description (height, diameter, shape, etc)
- Very detailed leaf description suited to current season of the year
- Very detailed bark description
- Very detailed fruit description suited to current season of the year
- Any extra ID tips
- List any cautions/warnings w/ remedies and preventions
- A list of all of its uses (woodcraft, medicinal, edible)
- Pick a few projects and get instructions, recipes, etc. to practice in the field

Contents of section 2 may include (field notes):
- Exact area of location
- General description of what you have found
- Descriptions of photos you have taken
- Any thing you find to be different than your research from home
- Notes from the projects practiced in the field
- Add a few sketches
- Describe the feel of the tree (smell, touch, hear, taste if edible)

Focusing on a few plants a week instead of searching for as many as possible has worked best for me. Get to know the tree intellectually at home then physically in the field. Take many pictures of all parts of the plant and write your own detailed description.

What do you guys think? Is this something that could work for you?

Edit: A good place to start is your own backyard.

Steven,

You just described me perfectly above.

Section 1) Basic instructions
Section 2) At home research and selection of target
Section 3) In field data collection


I think that section II could be used independently from section I for individuals that come across a tree while in the woods without preparing for it, and then wish to record data and then make submission to forum. I would always keep section 2 in my pack and whip it out when I come across something I randomly want to get ID. This happened to me one time I came across Honey Locust, at the time not knowing what it was.

And the worksheet will be very helpful in keeping track once taking the next logical step after ID'ing the unknown sample and asking, "What can this be utilized for?"

For a targeted sample, this would all be known, or a good bit of it, prior to heading out as you describe.

Thanks again,

Bill C

joe305
03-28-2011, 10:39 AM
this is a great Idea. and should make the process allot easier...I am Particularly interested in being able to I.D. and be able to have a way to document identified Edible plants. I want to make this one of my goals this year.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 10:40 AM
Tree ID social group created and found here for anyone interested:

http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/group.php?groupid=55

Maybe once Steven gets the worksheet finalized, it can be made available somewhere for easy access.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 10:59 AM
Can anybody help Steven with formatting and design on the worksheet? I have no computer skills in this area at all. I'm thinking maybe a nice, clean Adobe PDF format or something like that.

Thanks

Grits
03-28-2011, 11:06 AM
IMO, identifying trees starts with habitat. Trees (and other plants) grow in habitat that suits their needs: dry, wet, clay soil, sandy soil, climate/weather, ridges, midlands. bottomlands, etc., etc. I know there can be variation, but since we are bushcrafters it might be useful to think of habitat first as a way to "rule out" some species. Also, this approach allows for identifying other useful/edible/medicinal plants since these plants are perhaps more habitat-sensitive than many trees.

WRT habitat (and our own backyards), note that areas of civilization may contain many trees and plants that would not grow natively, since humans can change many natural elements, like how much water a plant gets.

Finally, search engines like Bing, Google and Start Page have an Images search feature, which will really help with plant identification if you use good search terms. For instance, I was trying to ID a tree. Using Bing! images, I entered "tree with thorns on bark" and hovered the pointer over the images to enlarge them. I guess I got lucky, because the second image looked right. I opened that link and got a description of Cockspur Hawthorne, which was exactly correct.

Hope this helps.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 11:25 AM
Those are very good tips Grits. Thank you. I have only known about trees habitating certain areas until recently after reading my field guide. The field guide I have includes a key giving the reader an idea as to what trees are more likely in a particular area. I'm working on trying to understand the differences between them so I can then identify an area, then identify a tree that is likely in that area.

When following STeven's worksheet, what you describe must happen prior to looking for a tree in a particular area and hope he can include information on the relationship between certain trees and the area they tend to grow.

madmax
03-28-2011, 11:34 AM
Steven's OP on this, I believe, was basically on trees of the southeast. Is that where we're going here? Or is this going to be broader scoped? Geographic distribution as well as habitat is important.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 11:37 AM
Steven's OP on this, I believe, was basically on trees of the southeast. Is that where we're going here? Or is this going to be broader scoped? Geographic distribution as well as habitat is important.

Goal would be to have a general worksheet as a tool that can be used to include all trees, not just a specific area. Hopefully he will include information on geographic distribution for the user that can be applied to his/her particular location. Once we get past this stage, I think everything else will be very standardized.

MK-9
03-28-2011, 11:42 AM
Outstanding idea.

madmax
03-28-2011, 11:47 AM
Are we, individually, going to add to the data base? Or is this kinda "go find, id with chart, and share" thing?

BillCr
03-28-2011, 12:03 PM
Are we, individually, going to add to the data base? Or is this kinda "go find, id with chart, and share" thing?

I don't know how a database could be done.

I'm thinking that we will have access to the worksheets, print them off, do our at home research on a tree we want to find and then take section II to record our findings in the field then add this to our at home file.

Or section II could be printed off, data and photos recorded, then photos uploaded to forum and notes typed in to request help ID'ing an unknown tree.

For me the end goal is to give members a tool that they can individually use to improve their tree ID skills with the assistance of fellow members at BCUSA to enable use to become independent in our research.

It will be a tool that fellow members will become familiar with hopefully and can expect to have a complete profile so they can get all the data in the field at the same time without missing anything that would have been helpful upon original upload.

FifeB
03-28-2011, 12:05 PM
Bill and Steven,
I think this is one of the best ideas I have seen for a while. Should be great for all of us on the site.
I agree that it should begin with eveyones back yards anywhere in our global coverage since we have many folks all over the world. It would be neat to know what a lot of these trees are used for in other parts of the world.

3fires
03-28-2011, 12:23 PM
I like the idea of section II being used for submitting help with an ID, along with a pic or the like. I see a few posts with pics on here asking for help with ID, and if folks had a guideline for what to submit it would help others here better assist in getting them a positive ID. It could be leaf, fruit bark, twig, shape or features, something along those lines. I think that would help folks get an understanding of what features are required for a positive ID as well. They wouldn't have to fill in every detail, just whatever features they may observe while they're out. In the first part of section II they could list the general geographic location.

I'd help with putting the worksheet together, but I'm pretty overwhelmed with school right now, and I'm not the best when it comes to throwing together forms in the first place.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 12:51 PM
I like the idea of section II being used for submitting help with an ID, along with a pic or the like. I see a few posts with pics on here asking for help with ID, and if folks had a guideline for what to submit it would help others here better assist in getting them a positive ID. It could be leaf, fruit bark, twig, shape or features, something along those lines. I think that would help folks get an understanding of what features are required for a positive ID as well. They wouldn't have to fill in every detail, just whatever features they may observe while they're out. In the first part of section II they could list the general geographic location.

I'd help with putting the worksheet together, but I'm pretty overwhelmed with school right now, and I'm not the best when it comes to throwing together forms in the first place.

3fires,

you said it better than i could buddy. having a checklist to help you remember while collecting the information will also help members with more experience to help the submitting member. there will be less back and forth over incomplete information.

Also, it will help us become better with the glossary of terms in field guides that sometimes can be difficult to define and understand.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 01:11 PM
Another thing I wanted to add to the thread about submissions is the subject header....

We say something like...."Tree ID Question" or something like that. Then, after the tree has been ID, we change the header to the succesfully named tree.

This will make searching the forum alot easier because you can search the tree you are looking for in the header and then go right to it.

Then after we get the tree ID, then we can search the forum for all additional informaiton related to that tree. As we are aware, there are excellent videos and information abundant here on trees and what we can use them for.

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 04:29 PM
Great to see a lot of people interested.

I have completed a rough draft in Microsoft Word of Worksheet 1. I need some help figuring out how to post it here so everyone can give me their feedback. Just to let everyone know, worksheet 1 has come out to be 6 pages. It includes areas to be filled out on every identification category.

My intentions on these worksheets is that you find all trees in your area and list them in order of habitat. (ex: Bottom wetlands, river banks, hardwood forest, etc.)
Second you pick a few trees to work with. Research those trees at home with worksheet 1. Take worksheet 1 along with your preferred field guides into the location you know where your choices will be located and fill out worksheet 2 in the field. Be sure to bring blank worksheets in the field also to help with identification of other trees.

These worksheets are standardized to ID trees in any part of the world.

There will be a cover sheet and master guide to explain each section on the worksheets. The cover sheet will give you tips on ID and general info on finding what you are looking for. It will be very detailed and most likely at least a few pages long.

One thing I really suggest is that you keep track of your worksheets in a binder under the tree name and visit the tree at all times of the year and fill out a worksheet for each season. This will greatly help in your ID for different seasons.

Once the tree worksheets are done, I will make a plant ID one. Two very different worlds.

I am open for any and all suggestions.

FreedomFox
03-28-2011, 04:37 PM
I would for sure used this. I am so unsure of tree identification (it is actually shameful)

madmax
03-28-2011, 04:42 PM
Wow, Steven. Excellent. Maybe one of the mods can help you with the format so we can print it out. pm?

BillCr
03-28-2011, 04:42 PM
Great to see a lot of people interested.

I have completed a rough draft in Microsoft Word of Worksheet 1. I need some help figuring out how to post it here so everyone can give me their feedback. Just to let everyone know, worksheet 1 has come out to be 6 pages. It includes areas to be filled out on every identification category.

My intentions on these worksheets is that you find all trees in your area and list them in order of habitat. (ex: Bottom wetlands, river banks, hardwood forest, etc.)
Second you pick a few trees to work with. Research those trees at home with worksheet 1. Take worksheet 1 along with your preferred field guides into the location you know where your choices will be located and fill out worksheet 2 in the field. Be sure to bring blank worksheets in the field also to help with identification of other trees.

These worksheets are standardized to ID trees in any part of the world.

There will be a cover sheet and master guide to explain each section on the worksheets. The cover sheet will give you tips on ID and general info on finding what you are looking for. It will be very detailed and most likely at least a few pages long.

One thing I really suggest is that you keep track of your worksheets in a binder under the tree name and visit the tree at all times of the year and fill out a worksheet for each season. This will greatly help in your ID for different seasons.

Once the tree worksheets are done, I will make a plant ID one. Two very different worlds.

I am open for any and all suggestions.

Steven,

Can you email me what you have so far? Also, contact Pik through PM about layout and formatting. Gratefully, he offered to help out. Thanks Pik!

My email is billc@servquote.com

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 04:49 PM
The ball is rolling and hopefully we can see the rough draft of worksheet 1 on here tonight or tomorrow sometime. I am still working on worksheet 2 and I will start on Master guide and Cover sheet as soon as possible. Planning that one out right now.

I am trying to include as much info as possible without having to print out a book. There is so much material that goes into tree identification. My goal is to have it as simple to understand and use as possible.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 04:56 PM
Can this document be hosted somewhere offsite and then we can access it with a link for now so people can view it, then comment on it to get it finalized in the coming week(s). Be sure not to put anything with BCUSA on the document to respect copywright of owners BCUSA.

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 05:05 PM
There will be no mentions of BCUSA unless the founders would like. I tried putting it in a link last night with no luck. Not sure how exactly it works.

It needs to be reviewed by everyone and I could sure use some suggestions. It is just a rough draft and will need to be revised a few times before it becomes fully available. There is still some research, thinking and outlining I have to do.

pik has generously offered to help with the layout and formatting.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 05:14 PM
There will be no mentions of BCUSA unless the founders would like. I tried putting it in a link last night with no luck. Not sure how exactly it works.

It needs to be reviewed by everyone and I could sure use some suggestions. It is just a rough draft and will need to be revised a few times before it becomes fully available. There is still some research, thinking and outlining I have to do.

pik has generously offered to help with the layout and formatting.

Steven,

I just looked at the word document and like where this is headed. It would be nice if during formatting Pik could somehow shrink the boxes down on the boxes where we circle an option so we could get it onto less pages if that is possible.

Drop the last two pages and put in the instructions that Skills/Recipes/Instruction and General Notes are to be added on the back of the first two pages. This will knock two pages off easily.

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 05:19 PM
Great idea. i am not liking the six pages either.

Old Philosopher
03-28-2011, 05:46 PM
When this thread started with the OP, I was thinking along the lines of a dichotomous key, which are pretty common. I've used them for fish identification, as well as plants.

If you've never used one, they are like an outline going from the most general, to the specific.

In the case of a tree, you start with the general shape, and then answer yes/no questions until you get down to the number of leaf clusters, and veins in the leaf. With thousands of species of trees/plants, these keys are almost essential.

How does the worksheet under development compare with a dichotomous key?

myrmecophile
03-28-2011, 06:05 PM
http://www.clemson.edu/extfor/publications/bul117/
perhaps this might give you some ideas.

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 06:14 PM
Old Philosopher,
I was thinking of something like that also, but I figured it would be too many pages to take into the field. My idea is to research the tree at home so when you go out you will know exactly what to look for. If you had worksheets that were filled out at home with every bit of info you can find using books and the internet, and say you had 5 completed sheets of different trees, then searching and identifying 5 trees should take you a good amount of time for the day.

When I walk into the woods with a field guide just trying to identify, I have found that I get frustrated more, than looking for specific trees.

There are plenty of websites that will tell you the exact trees in your region and the habitat where you will find them. So, what I do is, I made a list of all trees in the National Forest by where I live and sorted them by specific habitat. For example, I know that the low, sandy hills alongside Big Creek provide a more drier and open habitat where trees like Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, and Black Hickory can be found. So if I was wanting to learn more about Post Oak, I would fill out worksheet 1 and head out along Big Creek knowing what I am looking for. Once I locate one, I fill out worksheet 2 which details specific location, Description of what you see, smell, hear, taste (if applicable), and areas for sketches, etc.

I would most likely fill out worksheets for all trees found in that area, or at least 5 or so, and try and identify all of them and get some practice on their uses.

Would something like this be of use to you?

Old Philosopher
03-28-2011, 06:28 PM
I was looking at it just backward, I guess. :o
I'll stumble across a tree (not literally, I hope) and ask, "What the heck is that?" I might take some leaves, and a picture/sketch of the bark, an any other unique features, and then come home to research it.
But going out to hunt down a particular tree I've only done a couple times.
I wanted some yew wood, so I researched the bark and needle configuration, and finally found one in my travels. So I guess I was doing what you propose in a much less grand style.

Old Philosopher
03-28-2011, 06:40 PM
http://www.clemson.edu/extfor/publications/bul117/
perhaps this might give you some ideas.
This key in the link you provided is exactly what I was talking about:
http://www.clemson.edu/extfor/publications/bul117/leaf_key.htm

But I understand now the intent is to pick a quarry and stalk it in the woods. ;)

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 06:57 PM
I was looking at it just backward, I guess. :o
I'll stumble across a tree (not literally, I hope) and ask, "What the heck is that?" I might take some leaves, and a picture/sketch of the bark, an any other unique features, and then come home to research it.
But going out to hunt down a particular tree I've only done a couple times.
I wanted some yew wood, so I researched the bark and needle configuration, and finally found one in my travels. So I guess I was doing what you propose in a much less grand style.

I have found that once you do this over and over, your ID skills will start to become clearer. What you state above is also another way I learn. I think it is good practice to do this on every outing. Pick a tree you are unfamiliar with and take home clues (leaves, twigs, bark, fruit, pictures/sketches, etc.) to research.

These worksheets can be filled out in the field also. Find a tree and fill out worksheet 1 and 2 without the aid of a field guide. Once all identification sections are filled in and notes are recorded, pick up the field guide to learn what it is. Its description, its preferred habitat, some uses, ID tips, etc. See how good they compare to your findings. Once at home, do extensive research on its uses, etc. and visit the same tree in the near future when you have a full understanding of it. You will start to see the forest in a totally new perspective.

This process is what I have found to work best for me to increase my knowledge of trees. I spend time learning one specific tree before moving on to the next. It seems to stay in my memory better this way. I like to get an intimate understanding of them.

madmax
03-28-2011, 07:01 PM
To learn the trees on our property up in NC, I used large index cards, for individual trees, with notes on them. They filled fast.

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 07:01 PM
This key in the link you provided is exactly what I was talking about:
http://www.clemson.edu/extfor/publications/bul117/leaf_key.htm

But I understand now the intent is to pick a quarry and stalk it in the woods. ;)

My phone has an app on it like this. Its pretty cool. Its a blackberry and the app is called tree identification. Pretty useful tool in the field.

This is what I was thinking of at first myself. I found a few on the internet in worksheet style to print but they are numerous pages.

Old Philosopher
03-28-2011, 07:16 PM
My phone has an app on it like this. Its pretty cool. Its a blackberry and the app is called tree identification. Pretty useful tool in the field.

This is what I was thinking of at first myself. I found a few on the internet in worksheet style to print but they are numerous pages.
I was taking a course at the U of W in Washington on The Limnology of Puget Sound. The key for just the fish in the area was 180 pages! :eek:

3fires
03-28-2011, 08:15 PM
Steven, I read both your and OP's posts about the way you two go about ID. I do both, sometimes I will find a tree, plant, etc. in a book or online, take notes of the details and go seek it out in the woods. Other times, I will find an unknown tree, plant, etc. while I'm out in the woods, take notes in field along with samples to bring home and later ID using books, the internet and the like.

I haven't seen the form, but it sounds like it could be used both ways, either making notes at home and then heading out, or making notes in field and then heading home to ID. LOL! I hope that doesn't sound too confusing. I agree 100% with sticking to only one tree or plant at a time, as there are so many trees and plants one can lose focus pretty quick and get overwhelmed.

I realize there are many features, uses and such to a single plant or tree, enough that could fill a small book at times, but for field use a simple one or two page form might be best. The other pages regarding uses and such could be filled out at leisure, but for field ID, a more basic checklist or fill in the blank layout might be best.

It would be cool if the form as is could be posted, then many folks could give input, as what might seem best for me or someone else might not be best for everyone.

Old Philosopher
03-28-2011, 08:23 PM
Or...you could get to be like my logger buddies. Give them a piece of fresh cut wood, no bark, no nothin', and they will tell you what tree it's from. All they do is smell it. ROFL! One guy can tell the difference between white, yellow and lodgepole pine.

snakedoctor
03-28-2011, 08:37 PM
My phone has an app on it like this. Its pretty cool. Its a blackberry and the app is called tree identification. Pretty useful tool in the field.

This is what I was thinking of at first myself. I found a few on the internet in worksheet style to print but they are numerous pages.

It is also on android called TTreeID cost $1.99

Steven Long
03-28-2011, 08:43 PM
3fires,
Thank you for the suggestions. The worksheet could definitely be used both ways. It will come with a guide detailing the instructions on how to use the worksheet. The guide will also be used in the field with the worksheet to make ID easier. Trying to come up with a design for that now.

Right now, it is a fill-in-the-blank worksheet. We are currently working on getting it posted for reviews and suggestions. It is still in its baby stages. I created a rough copy to give everyone the general idea of what it could be. It is in Excel and Word format and I am not sure how to post attachment or link to BCUSA. pik is working on it as he gets time.

Thank you for your interest.


Old Philosopher,
I wish I was that good. It just takes a good amount of experience.

BillCr
03-28-2011, 08:49 PM
I don't know how to get what we have so far up and online either. I'm working on finding a way. Where's BackwoodsUncleBub?????

pik
03-28-2011, 09:03 PM
I got the rough draft from Steven today, and here it is. I have some ideas to reduce the amount of space required and will post what that looks like in the next few days.

At the moment, our target format is a PDF form with fill-able fields and check boxes, so you can either type the answers right in and attach it to a post here, or print it and fill it out by hand.

On the other hand, when the information is attached in a PDF, the worksheet content will not appear in search results. Furthermore, there is a per-user limit to the total size of all attachments, so it would be doubly nice to be able to simply post the worksheet content rather than attach it. Maybe we want a second, simpler worksheet in text-only form to fill out and copy into a forum post?

Steven Long
03-29-2011, 11:39 AM
I got the rough draft from Steven today, and here it is. I have some ideas to reduce the amount of space required and will post what that looks like in the next few days.

At the moment, our target format is a PDF form with fill-able fields and check boxes, so you can either type the answers right in and attach it to a post here, or print it and fill it out by hand.

On the other hand, when the information is attached in a PDF, the worksheet content will not appear in search results. Furthermore, there is a per-user limit to the total size of all attachments, so it would be doubly nice to be able to simply post the worksheet content rather than attach it. Maybe we want a second, simpler worksheet in text-only form to fill out and copy into a forum post?

Does anyone have any opinions on what needs to be revised from the worksheet?

All suggestions are welcome.

Old Philosopher
03-29-2011, 11:58 AM
All I thought of when looking at the .pdf was that some of the spaces left for handwriting could be smaller, and that would probably shorten it by at least one page, or more.
Sections like Flowers: Description, and Extra ID could be much smaller.
Also, pull the first item in each section up to the top of the box. There seems to be a lot of blank space before the first topic in several boxes.
The Special ID Notes could be at least 1/3 the size it is.

If people didn't have enough room in a section, they could footnote it, add their own continuation sheets at the end.

Binalith
03-29-2011, 12:09 PM
Definitely, also we could use this to eventually build a native/invasive tree index for bushcrafters who harvest wood to burn. I think stewardship is a very important facet of our lives with the forest and knowing what age/species is best to harvest is a big part of that.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 12:12 PM
Does anyone have any opinions on what needs to be revised from the worksheet?

All suggestions are welcome.

Steven,

Last night I took my field guide out and selected Carya Ovata, or Shagbark Hickory. I'm quite familiar with Shagbark Hickory, it has been my favorite tree ever since my grandfather taught me to squirrel hunt as a young man.

To review, worksheet #1 is a tool used to gather and collect all available information related to helping the person ID a tree in the field. I think OP put is right when he used the stalking analogy. Great analogy OP! Like E. Gibbons Stalking the Wild Asparagus, we are stalking the Tree of choice, determined by our specific geographic and soil conditions.

I found myself just transferring the contents of the field guide in the appropriate place on the worksheet. But I also checked one or two online sources and obtained additional information related to the "General Background & Description" section of worksheet 1 and "Habitat & Specific Location" in my notes. Accumulating information from multiple sources increases the value of worksheet #1 or otherwise it is a copy of a field guide, lacking color photographs.

Suggestions after filling out the sheet for the first time:

For all answers, whether they be the scientific name, or just circling an option, very little room on the worksheet is needed. I'm confident that with the right formating, the entirety of worksheet #1 can be included on 1 page, using the back of page 1.

Here is my conclusion on worksheet #1 after filling it out.

1) A field guide used to fill in worksheet #1 could be used instead and would have photographs included, whereas the worksheet does not BUT, the additional information collected from other resources make the worksheet that much more valuable, photos aside, more thorough and effective.

Photographs, photographs, photographs.

I think an entire page of worksheet #1 could be devoted to photographs.

What is your thinking on photographs in worksheet #1? Are you suggesting that the field guide suffice for this purpose? The lack of photographs on worksheet #1 is what bothers me the most about it.

Thanks,

BIll C

Old Philosopher
03-29-2011, 12:29 PM
I may still be missing the point here.
I would think that a compilation of these worksheets would be a Reference Guide, rather than a detailed book on the subject.
If published field guides were used, perhaps a small Bibliography section the end for 'related reading'?
Of course, in assembling these worksheets, each person would customize their own "notebook" as they saw fit.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 12:41 PM
All I thought of when looking at the .pdf was that some of the spaces left for handwriting could be smaller, and that would probably shorten it by at least one page, or more.
Sections like Flowers: Description, and Extra ID could be much smaller.
Also, pull the first item in each section up to the top of the box. There seems to be a lot of blank space before the first topic in several boxes.
The Special ID Notes could be at least 1/3 the size it is.

If people didn't have enough room in a section, they could footnote it, add their own continuation sheets at the end.

Very good idea OP.


Definitely, also we could use this to eventually build a native/invasive tree index for bushcrafters who harvest wood to burn. I think stewardship is a very important facet of our lives with the forest and knowing what age/species is best to harvest is a big part of that.

This post made me think of addendum worksheets that could be added to a personal file as supplementals based upon personal interest.

My original thought on this project was to provide some basic worksheets for members to fill out while in the field, snapping photos, taking notes and then bring their findings back to the forum and post them for help in Identifying the trees. This draws upon the collective brain power of the forum and could fastrack the ID of any given tree.

As we all know, this practice already occurs and occurs successfully for a variety of topics like scat, tracks, fungus, tinder, edibles and trees.

This worksheet was proposed for trees to help improve communication between the submitting member and the forum at large. Having a familiar worksheet with key information and photographs could reduce the back and forth that happens sometimes, requiring a second trip to get the requested information. I was just wanting to try and avoid this delay.

Once the tree is successfully ID, then the member can use the search function and find a veritable wealth of applications for the wood in question, or eliminate it from the "quarry".

This way, you know where the tree is and could mark it as a future resource for projects. As much as I like the idea of becoming familiar with identifying trees in your yard and surrounding neighborhood, I personally can better utilize trees found off the beaten path, especially for harvesting from it.

My preferred way is to go to the ways and ask, "What tree is this?" I just want to collect some information on the tree and then submit it here for help. The worksheet keeps me consistent and helps me not to forget important notes about the tree and better ways to photograph it.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 12:46 PM
I may still be missing the point here.
I would think that a compilation of these worksheets would be a Reference Guide, rather than a detailed book on the subject.
If published field guides were used, perhaps a small Bibliography section the end for 'related reading'?
Of course, in assembling these worksheets, each person would customize their own "notebook" as they saw fit.

When I began to fill out worksheet #1 on the Shagbark hickory I had to refer to other sources to help me fill it out, especially measurements like diameter of the trunk and average length of leaves and info on buds for winter conditions.

Yes, I see the customization occuring through the addendums or supplementals which are seperate from the basic framework of Tree Identification. I see uses as seperate from this project to be added individually based upon personal desire or need.

I think there is great merit in including the end use of the tree in question into a personal file and is the end result. But I wanted to just start on the basic subject of identifying the tree with the help of BCUSA members.

OP,

Remember how we talked about what tree that "beaver" had gnawed on in the flood waters? When I go back, I want to take good photos and record some findings of that tree so I can then submit it here and find out what tree that was. This is kind of where the idea spawned from originally. I want to try and cover all the basis I can to prevent me from having to take multiple trips to that trip for the same reason.

Also, this worksheet, being standardized would help others in the same task. I hope I am making sense on this. Going back to your stalking analogy, I tend to see a tree and then want to ID it but Steven's suggestion to stalk a tree, based upon his experience I Would like to try also. Either way.

All of this wall of text, sorry for blathering....I believe that Steven's worksheet #2 will be the field resource of this project and the two compared will work in tandem.

Old Philosopher
03-29-2011, 01:31 PM
...
This worksheet was proposed for trees to help improve communication between the submitting member and the forum at large. Having a familiar worksheet with key information and photographs could reduce the back and forth that happens sometimes, requiring a second trip to get the requested information. I was just wanting to try and avoid this delay...
This whole concept is a great one.
We all know the frustration when someone posts "What Tree Is This?", and the only description is 'funny bark and weird leaves'. :D Or, there is no description of how/where the tree is growing, and the only hint is a fuzzy picture from too close up with a cellphone. ;)
I think this standardized form of key ID features will be a great benefit, and save a lot of frustration, both for the party asking, and those trying to help.
:dblthumb:
(Ed note: ) With that in mind, perhaps the first page of the packet should be limited to just those key elements needed to ID the plant, and other features/uses could be addendums.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 01:59 PM
This whole concept is a great one.
We all know the frustration when someone posts "What Tree Is This?", and the only description is 'funny bark and weird leaves'. :D Or, there is no description of how/where the tree is growing, and the only hint is a fuzzy picture from too close up with a cellphone. ;)
I think this standardized form of key ID features will be a great benefit, and save a lot of frustration, both for the party asking, and those trying to help.
:dblthumb:
(Ed note: ) With that in mind, perhaps the first page of the packet should be limited to just those key elements needed to ID the plant, and other features/uses could be addendums.

GUILTY!!!:9:

Grits
03-29-2011, 02:17 PM
(Ed note: ) With that in mind, perhaps the first page of the packet should be limited to just those key elements needed to ID the plant, and other features/uses could be addendums.

Good idea.

We all know that, once we are familiar with a tree, there are certain tell-tale "markers" that make identification of it much easier: habitat, bark, leaf shape, size of tree, fruit, etc. depending on the species
.
***

I would suggest that the leaf margin section show pictures of different types, such as dentate, crenulate, lobed, etc.

I would suggest that the leaf shape section have pictures, such as lanceolate, eliptic, ovate, etc.

I would suggest that the worksheet actually have a ruler on it (if possible) so that leaf, flower, and fruit parts can be accurately measured in the field...noting that measurements are usually conducted by botanists in centimeters.

I also think that a section in the reference guide that comes from these worksheets is "Similar trees (plants) often confused with" that would help with a "rule out" method (the dichotomous model).

Just some thoughts.

Skab
03-29-2011, 02:30 PM
I love the idea of what you guys are working on.

For me I would use the sheet in the field and go to this site to see if I could ID it:

http://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/fullonline.cfm

What is cool about it, is it asks you alot of the same questions you have on the sheet and walks you thru IDing it.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 02:41 PM
I love the idea of what you guys are working on.

For me I would use the sheet in the field and go to this site to see if I could ID it:

http://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/fullonline.cfm

What is cool about it, is it asks you alot of the same questions you have on the sheet and walks you thru IDing it.

Great resource Skab. We could maybe put this link in the set of instructions that will accompany either worksheet 1 or 2, used in tandem with feedback from BCUSA members and our personal field guide. I think the more resources we have added to the instructions the better.

One thing I think would work really good too is that an online resource like this would be married to worksheet 1 and 2 very closely so that after worksheet 1 and 2 are filled out, or just worksheet 1, the next step is this site. This in tandem with an upload to BCUSA braintrust will increase the probability of getting a tree ID very quickly I think so we can then get to finally utilizing the tree for the projects and such that we want to get on with.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 03:03 PM
...There are plenty of websites that will tell you the exact trees in your region and the habitat where you will find them...

We will need this website to make our lists to target our tree(s). My field guide has a list like this and comparing it to another source would be very helpful. I'll pick the trees that show up on both and then reduce this sample to the most useful trees related to Bushcraft with my notes from the existing information at BCUSA.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 03:16 PM
...I would suggest that the leaf margin section show pictures of different types, such as dentate, crenulate, lobed, etc.

I would suggest that the leaf shape section have pictures, such as lanceolate, eliptic, ovate, etc.

I would suggest that the worksheet actually have a ruler on it (if possible) so that leaf, flower, and fruit parts can be accurately measured in the field...noting that measurements are usually conducted by botanists in centimeters.

I also think that a section in the reference guide that comes from these worksheets is "Similar trees (plants) often confused with" that would help with a "rule out" method (the dichotomous model).

Just some thoughts.

Absolutely Grits!

GreyOne
03-29-2011, 03:55 PM
If you have the file in a standard format, it can be posted here as an attachment to a message. In the Go Advanced message post, the "paperclip" symbol will get you into the attachment process.

That way , those following this thread can download it, and you can update it by editing the post as changes occur.

When a final format is done, we can put it in the Downloads section, there is a Nature Study , Fauna and Flora type area there.

Pabloturtle
03-29-2011, 04:56 PM
Interesting idea. I'm a bit weak on tree ID myself. The largest amount of trees out here are introduced.
Did a similar thing by using data in Elpel's "Botany in a Day". Printed out 3x5 index cards I can take in the field and fill out while I have to plant on hand.

Steven Long
03-29-2011, 06:01 PM
A question to all.

The guide for the worksheets will be an instruction manual with detailed descriptions meant to be used while filling out worksheet 1 and tips on filling out worksheet 2, along with other ID tips.

If I were to add pictures of leaf patterns/shapes (black & white), bark patterns, etc., it is going to be a pretty long guide (I feel it needs them). I am hoping to keep it as minimum as possible while including all details.

Since I am basing this guide on worksheet 1, I wanted to know if worksheet 1 has a basic platform everyone is happy with? I know it needs a lot of editing but I just wanted to get something out there for everyone's input before I spent a lot of time on something no one likes.

So, is worksheet 1 in a format everyone agrees they like or could use?

I will have a good amount of time to work on it tomorrow at work. It should be completed this weekend and available for further review from everyone here. School and work are killing me at the moment (trying to play catch-up) so sorry for not having something sooner.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project. It will prove to be a useful addition to our arsenal of skills.

Steven Long
03-29-2011, 06:07 PM
I love all of the ideas by the way. Keep 'em coming!

madmax
03-29-2011, 06:07 PM
I appreciate all the work going into this.:dblthumb:

BillCr
03-29-2011, 06:15 PM
A question to all.

The guide for the worksheets will be an instruction manual with detailed descriptions meant to be used while filling out worksheet 1 and tips on filling out worksheet 2, along with other ID tips.

If I were to add pictures of leaf patterns/shapes (black & white), bark patterns, etc., it is going to be a pretty long guide (I feel it needs them). I am hoping to keep it as minimum as possible while including all details.

Since I am basing this guide on worksheet 1, I wanted to know if worksheet 1 has a basic platform everyone is happy with? I know it needs a lot of editing but I just wanted to get something out there for everyone's input before I spent a lot of time on something no one likes.

So, is worksheet 1 in a format everyone agrees they like or could use?

I will have a good amount of time to work on it tomorrow at work. It should be completed this weekend and available for further review from everyone here. School and work are killing me at the moment (trying to play catch-up) so sorry for not having something sooner.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project. It will prove to be a useful addition to our arsenal of skills.

STeven, I would put the shapes of leaf structure and pattern into the instructions including some diagrams and what not, leaving them seperate from the worksheets. They would be more like a reference for us I think. We could use them to transfer some sketches onto our worksheets prior to heading out.

3fires
03-29-2011, 08:55 PM
Good idea.

...I would suggest that the leaf margin section show pictures of different types, such as dentate, crenulate, lobed, etc.

I would suggest that the leaf shape section have pictures, such as lanceolate, eliptic, ovate, etc.

I would suggest that the worksheet actually have a ruler on it (if possible) so that leaf, flower, and fruit parts can be accurately measured in the field...



Just some thoughts.

I like this idea, it would be especially helpful to someone who is unfamiar with the different types.

Even crude generalized pics or sketches would be enough I think.

And, shortening down the "whitespace" as someone else suggested would be great too. I like the look of it, it should be fairly easy to use for a newb and beneficial to the more experienced as well.

Steven Long
03-29-2011, 09:09 PM
Pictures will be included in the guide and I will find out if we can add a ruler on the side because that is a great idea.

I just reviewed a second draft and it takes it down to 1 page instead of 6 and focuses only on ID. This seems to be a better route than my initial draft.

We are trying to keep it as simple as possible. The revised addition should be available for everyone's review tomorrow.

Old Philosopher
03-29-2011, 09:30 PM
STeven, I would put the shapes of leaf structure and pattern into the instructions including some diagrams and what not, leaving them seperate from the worksheets. They would be more like a reference for us I think. We could use them to transfer some sketches onto our worksheets prior to heading out.

I agree. It would be most helpful, but not on the 1st worksheet. Some folks will be wanting to use this tool, and really don't know what "lobed", "toothed", etc., really means.

ozrkmtnman
03-29-2011, 10:31 PM
I've been considering a similar idea for some time, but slightly different. I want to have one specific to my area, the Ozarks. Your format is a great idea and I look forward to seeing, and using, the finished product. Of course I will share my info with the community when I finally get around to working on it. For my own personal project, the Tree ID section will be complimented with a Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants Section and a Game/Fish Section. I am not suggesting that this group take on such a comprehensive project, just sharing my idea.

BillCr
03-29-2011, 10:43 PM
BIG EDIT: I posted this before seeing in my inbox what Pik just got done in PDF. Scrap what I just posted fellows but will leave this up just in case. Great job Pik and Steven.


We could go with a format similar to this one which is very similar to the rough draft. It has the following headers:

Key:

a = write text
b = circle option
c = sketch

Content headers:

Popular Name: a
Scientific Name: a
Range: a
Habitat: a, b
Distinguishing Features: a, c
Bark: a, c
Leaves: a, b, c
Twigs/Buds: a, b, c
Flowers/Fruits/Seeds: a, b, c
Comments: a, b, c


Layout:

I put all the subject headers needing the least amount space at top.

http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/BillCrandell/Fieldguidephotos001.jpg

BillCr
03-30-2011, 12:04 AM
http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/ee416/BillCrandell/TreeIDworksheettestrun-1.jpg

pik
03-30-2011, 08:09 AM
Here's what we have so far. Fill-able text fields will be added last, but you can already click the check boxes. And I still need to check that the ruler prints at exactly the size it claims to be.

Iz
03-30-2011, 09:41 AM
I apologize, I'm gonna do one of those crappy things and reply without having read all the posts. Sorry about that.
I just want to say that this will be interesting if most of the information involved is from first hand experience. I don't enjoy reading the same thing I can read in every other tree/plant i.d. book on the shelf today. To many times people post up a tree or plant and then copy and paste something from the net.
I have no idea how to encourage the first hand reporting but I think that's what might make this project different. :dblthumb:
Very cool and thanks to everyone working on this.
Iz

BillCr
03-30-2011, 11:57 AM
I apologize, I'm gonna do one of those crappy things and reply without having read all the posts. Sorry about that.
I just want to say that this will be interesting if most of the information involved is from first hand experience. I don't enjoy reading the same thing I can read in every other tree/plant i.d. book on the shelf today. To many times people post up a tree or plant and then copy and paste something from the net.
I have no idea how to encourage the first hand reporting but I think that's what might make this project different. :dblthumb:
Very cool and thanks to everyone working on this.
Iz

I'm not sure I understand your post Iz. 100% of the information on worksheet II will be gathered from first hand experience. A large portion of information on worksheet I will come from a variety of sources, including personal all to the end of helping individuals better ID trees, not share the knowledge on how to utilize them. Plenty of this is available already all throughout the BCUSA forum

I posted the picture of the test run to more for layout and formatting than anything else to get a better idea how much room is needed for which particular section and to make sure we are on the same page. I hope this reply makes sense.

Iz
03-30-2011, 01:27 PM
Oh. Woops. I guess I should have read all the posts.:o
I thought the intent was to show the uses of the plant/tree along with the i.d. keys.
So it's just for i.d. then?
Iz

BillCr
03-30-2011, 01:36 PM
So it's just for i.d. then?
Iz

Yes sir. Worksheet 2 (still being worked on by Steven) will be a worksheet to help in recording first hand information when we come across something we wish to ID. This info, along with photos can then be uploaded on a thread to BCUSA to ask for help in identifying a particular tree. It is intended to improve back and forth communication to speed up and improve ID.

Iz
03-30-2011, 06:49 PM
Roger that.
Sounds like a good plan.:dblthumb:
Iz

BillCr
04-10-2011, 10:49 AM
Just an update.

Worksheet 1 is finalized and a large portion of the guide is done as well along with worksheet 2 having work begun on it.

To recap,

Worksheet 1 can be used to complete research on a known tree of interest prior to going into the woods. Just fill out the worksheet and become familiar with the tree prior to encountering the tree.

Worksheet 2 can be used to gather information on an unknown tree of interest while in the woods. If you come across a tree you would like to ID and have no idea what it is, this tool can help.

Both of these tools will be accompanied by a guide with tips on how to utilize them both to improve Tree Identification skills.

Steven Long
05-05-2011, 03:58 PM
The Tree ID Worksheet and Guide are complete and can be downloaded from BCUSA in the downloads section under Hunter/Gatherer. I would love to hear everyones comments, good or bad.

http://www.bushcraftusa.com/forum/downloads.php?do=cat&id=13

jloden
05-05-2011, 04:46 PM
This is cool, thanks for putting this together!

-Jay

mainewoods
05-05-2011, 08:41 PM
Thanks Bill C for the Update ! Fantastic I just looked at it! Great Job!!

DancesWithaTrout
05-05-2011, 08:56 PM
Great idea, however, it has taken me my 53 years of life to know what trees are in my area as well as a few other areas. There are countless tree ID books, pamphlets, id cards, quick ref, local agri help, forrestry admins etc out there already. My question is, why redo something that has already been done countless times already? It only takes a few minutes to gain access to these already made references, some for free and some that cost. Why try to create a new referrence when others are already avail?

I would rather see links to already published referrences from State and local sources. This also can be done by state and would be a single ref, rather than a consatnt resubmittal of the same tree over and over.... the whole idea of "Give a Man a fish, he will eat that day, teach a man to fish, he can eat a life time." Same goes for tree ID, the ref is already there, make the ref more accessable and the person can ID their own tree, rather than others do it for him. It has already been done.

* steps off my Tree ID soap box, please do not throw rotten fruit at this poster LOLOL

cdipaolo
05-12-2011, 08:46 PM
Thanks a ton man, looks great!

NoClearTrail
01-27-2012, 09:53 AM
As I prepare to begin a Virginia Master Naturalist program, tree ID will be an important part. I was thrilled to find this resource and impressed how this guide was put together. The teamwork on this forum never fails to amaze me. Thanks to those of you who worked so hard on this project.

IamLegend
01-30-2012, 10:56 PM
It's awesome all the work you guys are doing. That said I'm honestly just as confused reading this thread as I am trying to use a book to id a tree. I'm thinking maybe it will make more sence to me when it's all done and in use. I'm the first to admit it's my brain that's the problem so I don't want you guys thinking I'm dogging on you in any way! I just really need a basic easy to understand by your average lay person description. This might not be the best place for this comment but I read in the latest outdoorsman mag or somewhere about laminating your basic local tree info in order to have it with you. Got me to thinking if I could start with a few basics and concentrate on them until I got them down for sure then move on... I just don't do well with all the extra info. What kinda tree is it, what's it look like in all seasons, what can I use it for in the woods, and can I eat it? Don't need much beyond that. Especially don't need to know that it's called herbas bolognas el treeis maximas. This is just my opinion so if someone can give me that info for the ten most common trees I will bump my head on in Indiana I would appreciate it. Btw keep up the great work. You guys are awesome!

Steven Long
01-31-2012, 12:36 AM
We already finished it up a while back.

http://www.bushcraftusa.com/forum/downloads.php?do=file&id=1010

http://www.bushcraftusa.com/forum/downloads.php?do=file&id=1009

http://www.bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35745