Historic Roots

What events has a tree seen in its life?

Created by Canada’s History

Posted January 27, 2021

This activity is inspired by the article “What the Old Tree has Seen” in the February 2021 issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.

Not only are there trees almost everywhere you look in Canada, there are also trees everywhere you look in our past. Trees are some of the oldest and largest plants in Canada. They play important roles socially, culturally, historically, and ecologically in our communities. Some regions and municipalities in Canada even have heritage tree programs to recognize and protect unique and important trees.


In this activity, students will research a tree or forest in their community. They can choose a tree that has received heritage designation, an important forest in their community, or a tree or forest that is their favourite. Some suggested lists of trees and forests are below.

Have your students research the history of the tree/forest and create a physical or digital poster to share their findings with other students. Ask them to consider some of the following questions:

  1. What type of tree is this? What other types of trees are nearby?
  2. How old is this tree/forest? What records support this age?
  3. Did someone plant this tree/forest? If so, who? Why?
  4. What events has this tree/forest seen in its life?
  5. When do we designate a tree historic?
  6. Is this tree/forest protected in any way? Do you think it should be?
  7. How do you interact with this tree/forest?


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