Alberta Forest Week is May 3 to 9, 2020

About Forest Week

Alberta has a fine tradition of Forest Week and Arbor Day celebrations dating back to 1884. The spirit of Arbor Day instils the values of conservation and stewardship as well as the environmental benefits of our trees and forests. Alberta Forest Week is celebrated each year during the first full week in May.

As varying climates across the province favour tree planting at different times, Arbor Day dates vary, typically occurring during the first 2 weeks in May.

Grade one seedling program

For more than 60 years, each year Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has delivered close to 70,000 tree seedlings to grade one students throughout the province during Alberta Forest Week. This long-standing program teaches the value of trees and their contribution to the Alberta way of life.

COVID-19 response

This year, because schools are not in session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seedlings will be distributed and planted throughout Alberta by government and non-profit organizations. The grade one seedling program will be back in 2021. Those students in grade one this year will be eligible to receive seedlings next year.

Activity ideas

Alberta Forest Week and Arbor Day are times to celebrate our connection to trees, woodlands and forests. Even a lone tree on a boulevard can be celebrated for its beauty and contribution to keeping our air clean and our cities green.

If you are visiting the forest, please remember that most wildfires are caused by human activity. Always be aware of how your actions could affect the forest. Check Alberta Fire Bans to see if any restrictions are in place before you start a fire in Alberta’s forested areas.

Forest Week activity ideas for families

Here are some ideas to celebrate with family and friends:

  1. Alberta Forest Week Activity Sheet
  2. The Bertie Beaver Activity Book
  3. Plant a tree (or trees!) with your family or community group. Check with your city or municipality for opportunities to join greening initiatives.
  4. Take a hike and discover how trees sprout, grow, die and decay. Take note of what animals and plants live in or on them at each stage. Make a photo journal.
    • Does it have suckers, seeds, pollen or cones?
    • Can you tell which ones are male and which ones are female?
    • Does it grow straight, wide, droopy or round?
    • Which birds, animals and insects are found in or on the tree? What are they using the tree for?
    • Who or what uses the tree after it dies? Is it being used for the same things as before, or for new things?
    • If you find a fallen tree look for bract or shelf fungus and guess if the fungus attached to the tree before or after it fell.
  5. Visit Wonderville to learn about tree cookies (cross-sections), then go out and study any tree stumps you can find to learn about the tree's life.
  6. Download and print a free guide to common trees and shrubs of Alberta. Can you identify all the trees in your local park?
  7. Adopt a tree in your local park or yard and keep track of how it grows over the years. Have your child sketch the tree each year in different seasons.
  8. Make a collage of dried leaf rubbings in different colors. Remember not to take too many leaves from the same branch – the trees need them too!
  9. Find the hidden forest images in these activity sheets:

Junior Forest Rangers

If you have a child age 16 to 18 interested in natural resource management or forestry, check out the Junior Forest Ranger program!

Forest Week educational activities

Forest Week is a great excuse to get outdoors and walk among trees and forests. Enjoy the environment that trees create, and get to know some of the local trees in your neighbourhood.

Here are some ideas that might inspire action in your learning environment:

  1. Make your own paper:
  2. Check out The Book of Stuff to Do Outside.
  3. Forest Education: Focus on Forests – Teacher's toolbox.
  4. Explore the Forest Regions of Canada.
  5. Find inspiration in the Celebrate Arbor Day Guidebook (PDF, 16.8 MB) (American).

Other learning resources

Between The Stands – Forestry Education Kit (grades 4 to 6 and higher).

See the full listing of environmental education resources available for purchase.