To be able to identify the trees and leaves of Massachusetts, to understand the relationship between trees and the environment in which they live, to understand the use of dichotomous keys and to garner an appreciation for the diversity in the world around us.
During the leaf project you are responsible for gathering leaves from various trees found throughout Massachusetts. You are encouraged to work together throughout the project, sharing and trading your leaves with other classmates. Help each other out!
In order to identify the various leaves that you find, as well as locate the additional information that is required for each leaf, you will need to use resources from the library such as identification guides or other tree books.
The due date of the project is Monday, October 21st (October 22nd for G-Block). (75%)
There will be a lab practical on Thursday, October 24th for A-Block, Friday, October 25th for all other blocks. The lab practical will consist of the identification of approximately 25-30 leaves from the mandatory list. (25%)
See grading chart on next page for exact grade breakdowns
- 450 points for 45 leaves you have placed in your leaf binder (10 points per tree, see breakdown below)
- 40 points for having your picture next to 20 trees of your choice (2 pts per tree)
- 20 points for having bark rubbings from two trees (10 points per tree)
- 30 points for creating a map of trees near your home (10 points each, see below for more details)
The breakdown of the 10 points for each leaf page in your binder is as follows:
- Mounting and correctly identifying the leaf with its name and number = 6 points
- Describing the tree/leaf and listing its distinguishing characteristics including: Tree Name, Latin Name, Tree Shape, Tree Size, Tree Uses, Tree Range, Leaf Shape, Leaf Arrangement, Leaf Venation, Leaf Margin, Leaf Size, Other useful characteristics = 3 points
- Describing the type of environment (habitat) that the tree is found in (what types of soil/conditions would be likely to be found) = 1 point
Map of trees near your home:
- Find a satellite image of your home. Mark the location of your home and 10 trees near your home (100 yards). Identify the type of tree and take a picture of you standing next to it. Must have at least 4 types of trees). 3 points for each tree you have correctly mapped.
You should know exactly what your grade on your leaf binder is when you hand your project in!
Extra Credit: Up to 5% points of extra credit may be earned on your leaf binder. To earn any extra credit you must go above and beyond what was asked for. Possibilities are endless, but might include a special cover, unique presentation of leaves, poetry or hand drawings. Having an additional leaf, or the thorn of a hawthorn etc., will not by itself earn you a point.
Organization of the Leaf Binder:
You many choose any type of binder you believe makes sense to present your leaves. Our recommendation is that you use a photo album with self-adhesive page inserts. The self-adhesive inserts will keep air away from your leaves and help with their preservation
Your leaf binder should be separated into the following sections, in the order listed below:
- Needle-Leaf Trees
- Scale-Leaf Trees
- Untoothed Simple Leaf Trees
- Toothed Simple Leaf Trees
- Lobed Simple Leaf Trees
- Compound Leaf Trees
Each page of the album should include the following:
- a leaf specimen
- the name of the tree which the specimen came from a description of the leaf including the leaf margin, leaf arrangement, venation and any other distinguishing characteristics as well as information about its habitat (what types of soil/conditions would be likely to be found)
All of this information must be typed
How to Press Leaves for Your Binder:
Pressing leaves is easy to do and will prevent your leaf binder from being a source of mold in our classrooms. To get your presentation and preservation points:
- Choose leaves that are relatively flat, not curled. (Not an option for the evergreens.)
- Don’t be afraid to try leaves in various stages of changing colors.
- Choose leaves that are relatively flat and thin, with a low moisture content.
- Sandwich leaves between two or three sheets of newspaper. (Catalpa and Red Bud are fleshy and moist – you may want to pre-dry them in some extra newspaper)
- Place the paper with the leaves inside an old heavy book/phone book you don’t care about and place more books on top. Don’t use your favorite coffee table book or your text book!!!
- To keep the leaves from curling, you'll need a good amount of weight. Select some of your heaviest books or other weight to place on top.
- Keep the book in a dry location and check after a day or two. Make sure the leaves are drying and not rotting. If the leaves are moist or thick, you may need to change the newspaper. You will probably need to leave the leaves inside the book for several days before they are completely dry and ready to use. You can also experiment with pre-drying your leaves in the microwave between paper towels before you press them.
A search on the internet will give you other ways to preserve and press leaves.
View and download the full packet here.
Click on the tree for a printable list of leaves for the project.
How to make a bark rubbing:
Download a copy of the Honors Table of Contents here
Google Earth File of Tree locations in Concord:
Click here to download
Online Leaf Guide:
Audobon Leaf Guide (Registration Required)
Great Places to View Trees:
Mt. Auburn Cemetary
Great Leaf Sites: