New to MyWoodlot and not sure where to begin? Try these activity lists specifically chosen by our team as good “beginner” projects.
Ice storms are the most dangerous winter weather for trees. The added weight of ice on branches can break limbs and topple trees. But ice storms can also increase tree growth if the damage is minor and even create new nesting sites for animals.
Nature centers often mark their trails to help hikers get around. You can do the same thing on your woodlot. Blazes give your trails a professional look and aid your travel around your land.
When you're at your home or cabin in the woods, you don't want to be reminded of civilization. Planting trees between your home and roads or neighbors can give your property a more secluded feel.
Trees possess beauty that is sometimes obscured by nature itself. Pruning dead limbs and sculpting a form will enhance a tree's natural beauty and health.
Invasive plants are always on the move. Learning to identify these invasives that aren’t common yet—but could be in the near future—will help you locate these plants on your land before they become a problem.
How many deer visit your property? You can find out using this “pellet count” survey method.
Christmas trees need annual maintenance both to help them survive and to gain that classic, cone-shaped Christmas tree form.
Have a leftover tree stump from an old yard, firewood, or timber harvest tree? Put it to use by making a rustic end table.
Though the northeastern US is sometimes called "the asbestos forest" for its fire resistance, the region's fire towers are evidence of its wildfire history. Be especially vigilant during the region's main fire season of March through May.
Seeing wildlife on your woodlot is more than fun; it can also be a way to protect those animals in the future. These websites let you share your wildlife sightings with others and help scientists learn how our critter neighbors are doing.
Once you know how to spot common and emerging invasive plants, you can head out to your land to try to locate them.
Invasive plants thrive in the sunlight. Cutting vines that threaten to kill your trees will help keep your woodlands shaded and slow the spread of invasive plants.
Make sure your forester and logger know your expectations for your favorite spots on your woodlot, like a special trail or view.
Free aerial photos and topographic maps can reveal a lot about your property, and a simple hike can turn into a natural history lesson when you can read the woods.
Just setting up a bird nesting box isn’t enough to keep birds using it. Periodic cleaning will reduce nest parasites and improve the health of both adult and baby birds.
There's no substitute for in-person gatherings on the family land. Getting your family outside and walking together lets each person reflect on what your land means to them.
Planting a tree isn’t as simple as digging a hole. Proper planting technique can mean the difference between life and death for a baby tree.
The flute-clear notes of a wood thrush. The aerial acrobatics of an American woodcock. Your woodlot can support an astonishing variety of birds, but different birds have different needs. If you want to see more birds, create greater variety on your property.
Clean out your Best Management Practices annually to keep them working. This maintenance often avoids the need for costly heavy equipment later on.
Appropriately marked property lines are the best defense against trespassing and timber theft, and they reduce boundary disputes with neighbors. Painting your boundaries is a relatively inexpensive, visible way to mark your property line without injuring your trees.
Campfires can be a lot of fun, but they can get out of control if not handled safely. Learn how to safely make, maintain, and put out a campfire.
Woodlots have lots of kinds of trees. Install low-cost tree ID signs along your trails to educate you and your family about the remarkable diversity on your land.
Hiking is likely the most common way you’ll experience your woodlot. Learn about essential items to bring to make your hike a safe, enjoyable time.
It doesn't take a tornado or hurricane to break limbs and uproot trees. Every woodlot is vulnerable to damage from windstorms. Learn how to make your woodlot more resistant to wind damage and what to do when a windstorm hits your land.
Young woods don’t stay young. Old fields and shrublands gradually give way to older forest. You can maintain these important habitats with periodic mowing and brush hogging.
Plants, mushrooms, insects, and all sorts of other interesting critters make a living on fallen logs. Peek under a log to discover this fascinating woodland world.
Even after native plants are established, don’t let your guard down. Keep up your prevention, location, and control efforts to hold invasive plants at bay.
Once you install your rain garden, you aren’t done. Maintenance plays an important role in ensuring the garden’s long-term health and usefulness.
To locate invasive plants on your land, you first need to know what to look for. It would be overwhelming to learn every invasive plant, so focus on common ones to help you spot these invaders sooner.
You don’t need to tap hundreds of trees to make maple syrup. Even tapping one tree can net you enough syrup to last several months.
Emerald ash borer is considered the most devastating invasive insect in North American forests. It attacks ash trees. Discover how to identify these dangerous insects and the signs they leave behind.
You don’t need to be a hunter to experience the excitement of calling back and forth with a turkey in the spring.
Even with protection, newly planted trees need your tender loving care to help them survive. Use the information in this activity to help give your trees the best chance for long-term success.
New York's bluebird population has dropped 90% due to pesticides, shortage of natural nesting cavities, and competition from sparrows and starlings. You can help! Install a bluebird nesting box on your woodlot so these colorful songbirds can raise their families.
Hummingbird feeders with a sugar-and-water solution can provide supplemental food for hummingbirds and enjoyment for humans. Maintained properly, feeders won’t harm hummingbirds and will give them the energy they need to go after their real desired food: insects.
You can see a lot from your trails, but sometimes the best places are stumbled upon by accident. Get off the beaten path and explore your woodlot with the help of a map, compass, GPS unit, or smart phone.
Understanding how water damages your trails is the first step in protecting them.
Even small measures can make a big difference in keeping invasives off your land. Try to incorporate these simple steps into daily life on your woodlot.
Spending relaxing time in the woods, sometimes called shinrin yoku or forest bathing, is a proven way to reduce stress, improve mood, and lower blood pressure.
Overuse of pesticides, particularly insecticides called neonicotinoids, is a major cause of pollinator decline. Limiting or stopping your use of these chemicals can help keep more pollinators alive.
Spotting erosion problems before they grow makes it cheaper and easier to fix them.
Create your own nature-themed fabrics for a variety of sewing projects using this kid-friendly technique.
Master Forest Owners are landowners trained by Cornell University to help you care for your woodlot. They visit landowners, walk the land with them, and share knowledge and experiences all without charge.
Find out if your streamside areas are healthy and what to do to care for them with this easy-to-use self-assessment.
Your woodlot is a great place to bond with your family. A picnic is a fun, easy way to create some family memories and expose your kids or grandkids to nature.
Most ducks nest on the ground, but wood ducks nest in tree cavities. You can attract these beautiful waterfowl to your pond by building and installing a simple nest box for them.
Beauty isn’t just in what you see. By learning common bird songs and calls, you can tune in to your woodlot’s beautiful sounds as well.
If you want to make maple syrup just for personal use, consider the turkey fryer-and-stovetop method over large equipment.
Almost all wildlife encounters that end in human injury or death are caused by human actions. Protect yourself by knowing what to do when a wild animal gets too close.
In this activity, you’ll use air-dry clay to perfectly preserve the veins and shapes of a leaf in the form of a small, shallow bowl.
Overabundant deer often contribute to invasive plant spread by eating the native plants. Installing a deer fence to keep deer out of an area where you removed invasives can sometimes be enough to get native plants growing back all on their own.
This friendly competition organized by the New York Forest Owners Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension encourages landowners to grow the best quality trees possible on their property. Landowners in New England, New York, and Pennsylvania are eligible.
The United States Geological Survey has been creating maps since 1884, and they're all available online for free.
Many invasive plants were brought here intentionally for use in landscaping. One of the best ways to prevent new invasive infestations is to use only native plants in your landscaping. These plants can also be attractive and benefit wildlife like pollinators.
Moving firewood, say from your woodlot to a campsite, is the #1 way dangerous forest pests spread. State law restricts when and how far you may transport firewood.
Animals have better senses than we do, and they can be skittish when they know a human is nearby. A well-placed trail camera can take pictures of elusive wildlife without you needing to be there.
Protect yourself against Lyme disease by avoiding tick bites and checking yourself for ticks after coming in from the outdoors.
Scenic views. Burbling streams. Old stone walls. Check out these special places on other woodlots to get some fresh ideas for your own.
Your woodlot is more than a retreat from the fast-paced modern world. It's also an escape from the bight city lights that obscure the heavens. Pick a clear, moonless night and enjoy the show.
Hemlock wooly adelgid attacks hemlock trees, which commonly grow on steep slopes near streams. Discover how to identify this insect and the signs they leave behind.
If you cut down a tree in your yard, getting rid of the stump can be a real pain. Instead of grinding it up, this project repurposes that stump into a small flowerbed.
More than 4,000 species of bees are native to North America, and most don’t form hives and rarely sting. You can help bees by building or buying a wood or bamboo nesting house for them. Note: due to fungal infestations, replace your bee nesting houses every 2-3 years.
In a perfect world, what would you want to see happen with your land when you're no longer around to take care of it? Write these wishes down, then share them with a spouse or the rest of your family.
In the long term, the only way to keep invasive plants at bay is to make sure you have healthy native plants growing. If you’ve just controlled invasive plants in an area, planting some natives from a nursery can help them get a jumpstart on resprouting invasives.
Trees mark the changing seasons, protect our water, and clean our air. You can figure out which tree is which by spotting differences in leaves, bark, and even where a tree is growing.
Nature journaling will help you hone your nature observation skills and keep track of what you experience in your woods. Don’t worry if you aren’t a writer, artist, or naturalist; you can still keep a great nature journal.
Macroinvertebrates—creatures without backbones but that you can see with your naked eye—live in streams and are important food sources for larger wildlife. These critters are easy to find and identify by turning over rocks and sifting the streambed through a net.
Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive insect that kills many kinds of trees, including maples. Discover how to identify these beetles and the signs they leave behind.
You don’t need to consider yourself a writer to find relaxation in expression. Find a place to sit and see what thoughts flow.
Deer are what’s known as a “keystone species,” meaning they have a major impact on the woods. Understanding the changes deer cause to a woodlot is the first step in learning how to live with them.
For areas overrun with invasive plants, a strange but surprisingly effective technique is to rent goats. The goat farmer sets up portable fencing around the treatment area, and you pay by the day to let goats chomp through the invasives.
If you have a lot of trails, you might not know where all of them are or how they connect to one another. Make a map of your trails to learn what you have and make your hikes easier.
The Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative provides landowners along streams in the New York City Watershed with assistance and financial support to protect streams from damage.
The best way to help pollinators is to provide more of the food that they need to survive. Native plants can support hundreds more species of pollinators than non-native ornamentals, so as much as possible, incorporate native plants into your garden and landscaping.
The best way to learn about the life on your woodlot is get out there and see it for yourself. Learn what to look for, where to find it, and how to increase your chances of seeing it.
You may think your dead and fallen trees are eyesores that need to be cleaned up, but a few dead trees benefit your woodlot in lots of ways.
Wild apple trees are an important food for wildlife, but overcrowding within a tree and between neighboring trees can reduce the number of apples they produce. Prune branches and clear around wild apple trees to help them grow more fruit.
The first step in caring for your streamside area is to understand what and where they are.
Lyme disease is the most well-known tick-borne illness, but it isn’t the only one. Discover why it’s so important to be aware of ticks and how to prevent them from making you sick.
When dealing with small infestations, mechanical control techniques like hand-pulling, cutting, or brush hogging can be effective. These techniques require more work, especially for long-term control, but they can reduce or eliminate the need for herbicide.
Land surveys can be expensive, but they're helpful if you're concerned about neighbors encroaching on your land or of timber theft. They're also important if you want to build a new structure, install a fence, or just know where your boundaries are so you can mark them.
Pull it by hand? Mow it? Spray it? Different invasive plants require different control techniques. Before you put in a ton of work, figure out the best techniques for the plant you’re dealing with.
Sometimes you won't be able to identify a tree or plant on the spot. Other times you may want to keep a leaf or flower to appreciate later. A plant press preserves leaves, twigs, flowers and buds so you can look at them whenever you want.
Like many outdoor activities, wildlife tracking requires practice and patience. If you already have a basic understanding of wildlife tracks, these resources will help you take your tracking skills to the next level.
Our lives are so busy that we rarely slow down to appreciate what's around us. In a five senses hike, you'll slowly walk your trails and stop occasionally to explore what you're seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and even tasting. This is a great activity to do with kids.
Just like your doctor runs tests to determine your health, you can find out the health of your woodlot by hiking your land and looking at several indicators.
Birds can be some of the hardest nature subjects to photograph. They’re small, fast, and fly away when you approach. With practice and these tips, you can take great bird photos even if you don’t have a gigantic lens.
Bats freak out some people, but they’re actually remarkable creatures that can catch as many as 1,000 mosquitoes every hour. You can help give bats a safe, warm place to raise their young by hanging a bat box from your house or a freestanding post.
Most trespassing is accidental, because people often don't know they've crossed a property line. You can stop a lot of trespassing just by marking your boundaries. Posted signs are more expensive than painting your line, but they state the rules of how others may use your land.
Different land types can support different numbers of deer. You can find out whether deer are harming your woodlot with this browse assessment.