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Tree stories

Trees represent small ecosystems in which millions of irreplaceable stories take place each day. In many respects they are humanlike. They have their own forest families; they can show feelings as well as sadness and diseases. They differ from us with their lifestyle: unlike us they never damage environment that they live in.

Peppered Moth (Photo: Frode Falkenberg)

Flowering Birch in southern Norway in May. Photo: Frode Falkenberg.

Trees have no mouth yet in spite of this they communicate daily with us. We should try to understand them, to listen to them and to recognize signals they have been sending us, to learn lessons from their life and behaviour and what they mean for us. In the period of climate change and huge loss in biodiversity trees can be a source for our inspiration and fountain for our wisdom. They carry a message for the future and they themselves are a prerequisite of the future. What do you think trees would say if they could speak?

Learning outcomes:

  1. To understand the importance of trees to people and to the living planet;
  2. To understand the role of trees to reduce biodiversity loss and reduce the impact of climate change; and
  3. To recognize basic principles of a sustainable lifestyle.

Skills: observation, investigation, sorting information, deduction, system thinking

Resources: worksheets “Leaf to you”, "Leaf to you (completed), “Windblown words”, “Stories of my tree

Part A – classroom
Part B – school yard, street, park, meadow

Part A – 45 minutes
Part B – 30 minutes regularly during the year



  1. At the beginning of a class put this simple question to your students: “What does a tree mean to you?“ Give them enough time to state their answers and record them on the board or a flipchart.
  2. Tell students that every tree although not having mouth talks. Even though it is not easy to understand the tree language one tree has decided to write you a "leaf" letter. The tree has not sent this letter by post but wind. Unfortunately when flying to you some words were blown by the wind away from the letter.
  3. Give out worksheets "Leaf to you" and "Windblown words" to each pair of students. Their task is to fill in gaps with correct words and to understand message of the letter.  Leave them enough time to work it out.
  4. Read “Leaf to you (completed)” together and check all answers. Explain unfamiliar information or new terms. Stop at particular topics of the letter and lead discussion using follow-up questions, for instance:
  • What things do people and trees have in common?
  • How are trees important for people, other living plants & animals and the planet Earth?
  • How are people managing and using natural resources? 
  • Which of trees treasures or abilities is the most important according to you and why? 
  • Do you know any songs, poems or legends about trees?
  • How can trees communicate and express their stories?
  • Do the illnesses of trees have connection with climate change?
  • What could we learn from trees?
  • What part do you think you play in the story you have just read?


Tell students that every tree tells many remarkable stories and adventures. Now,
they can learn how to understand trees and recognise their voice. Pass the worksheet
Stories of my tree” to every pupil. Go through all the items in the table and talk about possible stories they could contain.

The mission for every pupil is to choose a tree/trees close to them (school yard, city
park, street), ideally BEAGLE trees they are monitoring within the project. They should use the recording sheet to keep a record of stories observed during each visit to the tree/trees during each phenological phase.

After collecting a sufficient amount of data, for instance at the end of every season, they will write a letter called “Stories of my tree”. Thanks to them, trees will have a chance to speak to

Make a pdf of your completed datasheets and upload them here! They will then appear in the results section.